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Press Release

Leader of Hustlas Don’t Sleep Gang Pleads to Trafficking Fentanyl

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

PITTSBURGH, PA - A former resident of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal narcotic laws, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Robert Howell, Jr., age 34, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Marilyn J. Horan.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Howell participated in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. He was one of the leaders of a drug trafficking organization that referred to themselves as Hustlas Don’t Sleep. Howell arranged for large shipments of fentanyl from the Philadelphia area and then arranged for its distribution throughout the Pittsburgh area.

Judge Horan scheduled sentencing for July 13, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. The law provides for not less than ten years in prison, a fine of $10,000,000, 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.

Pending sentencing, the court remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

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

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Howell Jr., along with the assistance of numerous other law enforcement agencies and departments, including the Monroeville Police Department, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Allegheny County Police Department.

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 March 18, 2022

Drug Trafficking