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Press Release

Former Duquesne Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Heroin for Neighborhood Street Gang

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

PITTSBURGH - A former resident of Duquesne, Pennsylvania, and a fugitive from 2019 to 2022, pleaded guilty on Jan. 11, 2023, in federal court to a charge of violating federal narcotics law in connection with a large-scale investigation conducted by the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Delbert Pate, 30, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.

In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force conducted a long-term investigation of drug trafficking occurring in and around the Braddock Borough outside of Pittsburgh and identified several members and associates of a neighborhood-based street gang, self-titled “SCO” that were responsible for distributing controlled substances in Western Pennsylvania, which was led by Pate’s half-brother, who has previously been sentenced, Howard McFadden.

Pate was identified as a member of SCO and involved in McFadden’s drug-trafficking business. Intercepted communications revealed that in addition to acting as a drug runner/courier for McFadden, Pate was one of McFadden’s trusted associates, and received distributor quantities of heroin from McFadden. Pate admitted that he was responsible for distributing over 100 grams of heroin.

Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for May 18, 2023, at 9:30 AM. The law provides for a total sentence of at least five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court ordered defendant remain detained.

Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca L. Silinski is prosecuting this case on behalf of the United States.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation along with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Allegheny County Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigations, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. Other assisting agencies include the Allegheny County Adult Probation, Monroeville Police Department, Penn Hills Police Department, Shaler Township Police Department and Wilkinsburg Police Department, conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Pate.

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 January 23, 2023

Drug Trafficking