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Press Release

Irwin Man Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Conspiracy Charge

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

PITTSBURGH, PA- A resident of Irwin, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of drug trafficking, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Bernard Wilkins, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine before 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 section of Pittsburgh, PA. In January of 2019, investigators obtained authorization to conduct a federal wiretap investigation, which continued through May of 2019. Intercepted communications confirmed that Wilkins obtained distributor quantities of cocaine from another member of the conspiracy. In addition to intercepted communications, the Court was further informed that Wilkins was observed at a stash house located on Seddon Avenue in Braddock, PA, which was used by members of the conspiracy to facilitate their drug-trafficking activity, by law enforcement conducting surveillance. In conjunction with his guilty plea, Wilkins accepted responsibility for the distribution of at least 50 but less than 100 grams of cocaine.

Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for July 28, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of not more than $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. Wilkins remains on bond pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca L. Silinski 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 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 Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Narcotics, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. Other assisting agencies include the Monroeville Police Department, Penn Hills Police Department, Wilkinsburg Police Department, and Allegheny County Adult Probation.

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.

Updated January 22, 2020

Drug Trafficking