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Justice News

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

Monday, November 25, 2019

HDS Gang Members and Associates Charged with Fentanyl and Other Drug Trafficking in Allegheny County’s Eastern Communities

PITTSBURGH - Thirteen residents of Allegheny County, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, and six other defendants have been charged by criminal complaint, on charges of violating federal narcotics and firearms laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today. The indictments and complaints detail a group of drug traffickers identifying themselves as "Hustlas Don’t Sleep" (HDS), who sold a variety of controlled substances, including fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, crack cocaine, and heroin, primarily out of the McKeesport, Turtle Creek, Wilkinsburg and Monroeville areas if Allegheny County.

"This investigation and prosecution of the HDS gang is the result of sustained, coordinated work by federal, state and local law enforcement working together," said U.S. Attorney Brady. "As long as there are neighborhoods in western Pennsylvania terrorized by gang violence and drug dealers, we will continue to fight for you and your families."

"Violent groups don't belong in our neighborhoods," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones. "Last year, Allegheny, Beaver and Washington Counties were designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas or HIDTA's. Today's arrests are just one example of the work the Allegheny County HIDTA Task Force is doing to rid the community of dangerous drugs and destructive behavior. The message is clear. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to investigating, arresting and prosecuting those who make a living off of selling drugs."

The five-count superseding indictment named the following individuals:

• Robert Howell Jr., age 31, of Monroeville, PA 15146;

• Brandoun Calhoun, age 27, of Pittsburgh, PA 15218;

• Pressley Calhoun, III, age 57, of Wilkinsburg, PA 15221;

• Brandon Campbell-Taylor, age 27, of Pittsburgh, PA 15233;

• Duane Eugene Cash, Jr., age 48, of Monroeville, PA 15146;

• Wesley Ellis-Barnes, age 31, of Pittsburgh, PA 15218;

• Timothy Harper, age 37, of Monroeville, PA 15146;

• Jason Jackson, age 26, of Pittsburgh, PA 15221;

• Jamal Knox, age 25, of Verona, PA 15147;

• Maurice Miller, age 32, of Pittsburgh, PA 15235;

• Joseph Posey, Jr., age 22, of Wilkinsburg, PA 15221;

• Curtis Saxton-Smith, age 30, address unknown; and

• Che Williams, age 33, of Pittsburgh, PA 15221.

According to the superseding indictment, from September 2017 until November 2019, the defendants conspired to possess with the intent to distribute and did distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance, 280 grams or more of cocaine base, in a form commonly known as crack, 100 grams or more of fentanyl and 400 grams or more of fentanyl, Schedule II controlled substances. The superseding indictment further alleges that on December 7, 2017, Duane Eugene Cash, Jr., possessed with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of an analogue of fentanyl, 100 grams or more of heroin, 40 grams or more of fentanyl, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, and quantities of cocaine, marijuana and tramadol. The superseding indictment further alleges that Cash, a convicted felon, possessed a firearm in furtherance of his drug trafficking activities. The superseding indictment further alleges that on September 27, 2019, Brandon Calhoun possessed a firearm and ammunition, knowing he had been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year. Federal law prohibits an individual who has been convicted of a felony from possessing a firearm.

In addition, six other defendants connected to the HDS drug trafficking organization were charged by criminal complaint. For the defendants charged by complaint, the law requires subsequent presentation of the case to a federal grand jury.

"The Allegheny County Police Drug Task Force is committed to working with our federal, state and local partners to pursue the parasites who continue to traffic poison in our communities without regard to the effects of their crimes on society," said Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough. "I want to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for vigorously pursuing the HIDTA designation for Southwest Pennsylvania: this designation helped to ensure our Task Force is adequately funded and equipped for long term investigations of this nature. This operation shows what we can accomplish working together."

"The people of Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania deserve to live in drug-free and violence-free neighborhoods. This coordinated effort illustrates the unwavering commitment of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and our partner law enforcement agencies to guard, protect and serve our communities," Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said. "We applaud the work of the Pittsburgh Police and Allegheny County HIDTA Task Forces, and we remain committed to our involvement in the task force and to stamping out all forms of violence and illegal drug trafficking in our neighborhoods."

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of life in prison, a fine of $10,000,000, or both for all of the indicted defendants. Cash faces an additional $10,500,000 fine. Calhoun faces an additional $250,000 fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway and Brian M. Czarnecki is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Monroeville Police Department, the Attorney General’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Maryland Office, and the Allegheny County Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

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

Drug Trafficking
Updated November 25, 2019