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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Penn Hills Man on Drug Trafficking and Firearms Offenses

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

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - After deliberating for less than two hours, a federal jury on April 18, 2024, found Harry E. Duncan guilty of three counts of violating federal drug and firearms laws, United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced. The verdict of guilt included one count each of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine; possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon; and aiding and abetting the straw purchase of three firearms.

Duncan, 36, of the Penn Hills area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was tried before United States District Judge Christy Criswell Wiegand in Pittsburgh.

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Jerome A. Moschetta and Benjamin C. Dobkin, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that, in the fall of 2022, Duncan was the subject of an investigation by Allegheny County Police narcotics detectives for suspected involvement in drug trafficking. On November 18, 2022, the detectives served a search warrant on Duncan’s residence, finding in the basement over 1,000 stamp bags of fentanyl, significant amounts of unpackaged fentanyl powder, powder cocaine, and crack cocaine hidden in the ceiling. Throughout the basement, the detectives also discovered a large quantity of drug packaging materials, scales, cash, and 11 different cell phones.

In addition to the drugs and drug trafficking paraphernalia, detectives found a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle, a Winchester 12 gauge shotgun, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and several pistol cases. Further investigation revealed that Duncan, who previously had been convicted of a felony, had engaged a former drug customer to unlawfully straw purchase the rifle and two of the pistols. In December of 2020, at Duncan’s direction, that person lied on background investigation paperwork and falsely stated that they were the purchaser of the firearms, when, in fact, the firearms were for Duncan. Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon.

Judge Wiegand scheduled sentencing for August 29, 2024. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of up to 40 years in prison, a fine of up to $2.5 million, or both. Under the federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based on the seriousness of the offenses and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Pending sentencing, the Court remanded Duncan into the custody of the United States Marshals.

The Allegheny County Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation that led to Duncan’s prosecution.

Updated April 29, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses