Former Pittsburgh Resident Pleads Guilty to Narcotics Trafficking
PITTSBURGH, PA - A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court last week 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.
John Fedorka, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, and one count of possession 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 18 grams of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. Mr. Fedorka 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.
Fedorka purchased heroin and fentanyl from his co-conspirator, Christopher Highsmith, and served as a middleman in drug transactions. The court was further informed that on January 17, 2019, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police made a traffic stop on a vehicle in which Fedorka was the front seat passenger. Police recovered three bricks of heroin from Fedorka.
Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for May 6, 2020, at 10:30 am. The law provides for a total sentence of 30 years in prison, a fine of $2,000,000, 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. In addition to the charges to which he pleaded guilty, Fedorka has a prior felony drug conviction, and, as such, is subject to enhanced penalties. The defendant remains in jail 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.