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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Former Pittsburgh Man Pleads Guilty in Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

PITTSBURGH, PA- A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges related to narcotics trafficking in connection with a large-scale investigation conducted by the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Kyleif Harley, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl before United States District Judge William S. Stickman IV. The defendant acknowledged his responsibility for the distribution of 15 grams of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. Mr. Harley is one of 37 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. As part of this large-scale narcotics and firearms investigation, in February of 2019, the United States received authorization to conduct a federal wire investigation, which continued through June of 2019.

Intercepted communications demonstrated that Harley possessed and distributed heroin and fentanyl, and communicated directly with his co-defendant, Christopher Highsmith, who was among the leaders of the drug trafficking conspiracy, in order to develop his drug trafficking business. The court was further informed that during a traffic stop of Harley near Philadelphia on August 1, 2018, law enforcement officials seized 261 stamps bags of heroin, over 60 pills that tested positive for various forms of fentanyl, and items related to narcotics distribution that were purchased in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Harley later pleaded guilty to state charges that stemmed from the traffic stop.

Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for July 6, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, 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. Mr. Harley remains in custody pending the sentencing hearing.

Assistant United States Attorney Christy C. Wiegand is 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.

The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated January 8, 2020