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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 20, 2020

Federal Officials Announce the Dismantling of a Multi-Drug Trafficking Organization and the Arrests of its Participants

PITTSBURGH – Twenty-one members of a drug trafficking organization primarily operating in Washington, Allegheny and Fayette Counties in southwestern Pennsylvania have been indicted by a federal grand jury for trafficking significant quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and fentanyl, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

"From Erie to Fayette and Lawrence to Cambria, we are systematically dismantling drug trafficking organizations operating in every western Pennsylvania county," said U.S. Attorney Brady. "The Marcus Brown DTO has joined a long list of cocaine and heroin distribution networks that are out of business and behind bars."

"The FBI and our partners will not let drugs and gun violence rip apart our communities," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman. "Many of the people arrested have dangerous, violent criminal histories. They thrived on selling drugs that lead to dangerous consequences. Let this be a warning to other bad actors. The FBI and our partners will stop at nothing to investigate, disrupt and hold accountable those who insist on bringing their harmful business to our neighborhoods."

Seventeen of the defendants were arrested yesterday as part of FBI Operation Skyfall, an OCDETF investigation that included seven months of judicially authorized federal wiretaps of ten phones and identified a drug trafficking organization allegedly headed by Marcus Brown that operated throughout the Western District of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Four of the defendants were already in custody. According to a Criminal Complaint filed in October, Marcus Brown and Steve Law, IV obtained cocaine and heroin in New Jersey and then transported the cocaine and heroin back to the Western District of Pennsylvania for distribution to others in the conspiracy.

Specifically, the Indictment returned on Nov. 12 and unsealed yesterday charges the following individuals at Count One with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, from in and around April of 2020 and continuing until on or about October 27, 2020:

Marcus Brown, 33, of Washington, PA;

Brandon Boone, 38, of Washington, PA;

Kenneth Brooks, Jr., 27, of Washington, PA;

Kevin Bush, 51, of Washington, PA;

Marc Cain, 57, of Washington, PA;

Brian Householder, 57, of Greensburg, PA;

Steve Law, IV, 29, of Washington, PA;

Princess Makokele, 40, of Washington, PA;

David McComb, 32, of Coraopolis, PA;

Steve Miller, 48, of Allegheny, PA;

Andrew Molinaro, 42, of Canonsburg, PA;

Johnnita Richardson, 33, of Washington, PA;

Warren Sadler, 56, of Washington, PA;

Matthew Spicer, 50, of Canonsburg, PA;

Kristen Steffan, 36, of Canonsburg, PA; and

James Vance, 36, of Jersey City, NJ.

The Indictment also charges the following individuals at Count Two with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, from in and around June of 2020 and continuing until on or about October 27, 2020:

Marcus Brown, 33, of Washington, PA;

Brandon Boone, 38, of Washington, PA;

Kenneth Brooks, Jr., 27, of Washington, PA;

Michael Brown, 56, of Brownsville, PA;

Steve Law, IV, 29, of Washington, PA;

Princess Makokele, 40, of Washington, PA;

Michael Pusateri, 39, of Washington, PA; and

Warren Sadler, 56, of Washington, PA.

At Count Three, the Indictment charges the following individuals with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine, in the Western District of Pennsylvania, from in and around June of 2020 and continuing until in and around August of 2020:

Walter Brunson, Jr., 51, of Pittsburgh, PA;

Shawn McFarland, 51, of Lawrence, PA;

Matthew Spicer, 50, of Canonsburg, PA; and

Bradley Stopperich, 49, of Washington, PA.

Finally, at Count Four, the Indictment charges the following individuals with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantities of heroin and fentanyl, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, from in and around August of 2020 and continuing until on or about October 27, 2020:

Marcus Brown, 33, of Washington, PA;

Kenneth Brooks, Jr., 27, of Washington, PA;

Steve Law, IV, 29, of Washington, PA; and

James Vance, 36, of Jersey City, NJ.

As to Counts One and Two, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 10 years to a maximum of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,000, or both, as to each charged Defendant. As to Counts Three and Four, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 20 years, a fine up to $1,000,000, or both, as to each charged Defendant. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentences imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendants.

Assistant United States Attorneys Mark V. Gurzo and Jerome A. Moschetta are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Pittsburgh, PA led the multi-agency investigation that included members of the Pennsylvania State Police, United States Postal Inspection Service, Allegheny County Police Department, Allegheny County Port Authority Police Department, Allegheny County Sherriff’s Office, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Stowe Township Police Department, and North Versailles Police Department.

This case is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program, known as OCDETF. OCDETF was established in 1982 to support comprehensive investigations and prosecutions of major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. It is the keystone of the drug reduction strategy of the Department of Justice. By combining the resources and expertise of federal agencies and their state and local law enforcement partners, OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the most serious drug trafficking, money laundering, and transnational criminal organizations.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated November 20, 2020