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Press Release

Mid-Level Participant in South Pittsburgh Drug Gang Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison

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

PITTSBURGH - A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to five years’ (60 months’) imprisonment and four years’ supervised release on his conviction for conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl. Williams was charged in connection with a large-scale investigation conducted by the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

United States District Judge William S. Stickman, IV, imposed the sentence on Ronald Williams, age 28. Mr. Williams is one of 40 defendants charged in the Indictment and Superseding Indictment returned in the case.

According to information presented to the court, 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 wiretap investigation, which continued through June of 2019. Communications about drug trafficking between Williams and his codefendant, Christopher Highsmith, the leader of the organization, were intercepted. Additionally, agents made two controlled purchases of quantities of a fentanyl and heroin mixture from Mr. Williams and seized approximately there grams of a fentanyl and heroin mixture following a traffic stop of Mr. Williams’ vehicle.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Stickman advised Williams that his sentence was in keeping with other defendants sentences in the case that had a mid-level role within the drug-trafficking organization. Judge Stickman further ordered that $1,540 dollars in U.S. currency seized from Williams be forfeited to the United States.

Assistant United States Attorneys Carolyn J. Bloch and Brendan J. McKenna prosecuted 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.

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 April 14, 2021

Drug Trafficking