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Press Release

Elizabeth, PA Man Played Low-Level Role in DS-44 Drug Gang’s Distribution Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of violating federal narcotics and firearms laws, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Dontae Gilbert, age 20, of Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. United States District Judge William S. Stickman, IV. Gilbert is one of 36 defendants charged in the Indictment.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that in 2017, the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force initiated an investigation primarily targeting the Darccide/Smash 44, or DS44, neighborhood gang, and its drug-trafficking activity in and around the South Side area of Pittsburgh. Gilbert was identified as a low-level distributor of heroin and fentanyl supplied by members of the organization.

The court was further advised that on April 12, 2019, agents searched Gilbert’s residence and found him in possession of 13 stamp bags containing a mixture of heroin and fentanyl, a loaded pistol, and drug packaging and weighing materials.

Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for February 17, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than five (5) years in prison and not more than life, a fine of $1,250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Gilbert remains detained pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorneys Carolyn J. Bloch and Brendan J. McKenna are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Allegheny County Adult Probation, Allegheny County Police Department, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Narcotics, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Wilkinsburg Police Department. Other assisting agencies include the Green Tree Police Department, New York City Police Department, Mount Oliver Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Yonkers Police Department, United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

This prosecution is a result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States.  OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Updated September 16, 2021

Drug Trafficking