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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Nine Indicted for Dealing Multiple Drugs in Butler County, including near Schools and Playgrounds

PITTSBURGH – Nine Pennsylvania residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh for fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine trafficking in the Butler County area, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

"Today, we dismantled a significant Philadelphia-to-Butler drug organization whose pipeline brought fentanyl, heroin and cocaine into Butler communities, including near neighborhood playgrounds and schools," said U.S. Attorney Brady. "Our successful partnerships with the Pennsylvania State Police and Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger and his Drug Task Force have allowed us to take the fight against illegal drugs to all of our communities, including our small towns and rural communities. We want drug dealers to know there is nowhere for them to set up shop in western Pennsylvania."

Major Stephen K. Eberle of the Pennsylvania State Police said, "This was a lengthy investigation involving a partnership between the Pennsylvania State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Butler County Drug Task Force and the United States Attorney’s Office. The involved troopers, agents, officers and attorneys worked tirelessly to disrupt and ultimately dismantle a large drug trafficking network responsible for distributing a significant quantity of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine throughout the Butler County region. The Pennsylvania State Police, along with our federal and local partners, remain committed to combating this type of illegal drug activity plaguing our neighborhoods and communities."

"These arrests send a clear message to all of those involved in illegal drug activity," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Christman. "The FBI will never stop investigating and arresting those responsible for harming our communities. The drugs seized today can and do lead to dangerous consequences. I commend the work of our Opiate Overdose Task Force, along with our federal, state and local partners, who are committed to eradicating drugs and the violence they bring with them. It doesn't matter whether it's a major metropolitan area or a rural neighborhood, drug dealers don't have a place in our community."

"Thanks to a joint investigation between the FBI, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Butler County Drug Task Force, high level suppliers of heroin and cocaine were indicted and arrested today in Butler County and other areas in Western Pennsylvania," added Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger. "This collaborative effort will put a serious dent in drug trafficking in Butler County, making our community a safer place to live and work. I want to thank all of the law enforcement officers who were part of this investigation. These officers selflessly placed themselves in harm’s way for the overall betterment of Butler County."

The 27-count Indictment, returned on June 9 and unsealed today, charges Qureem Overton, Bobby Askew, Jasmine Cook, Damion Fray, Ricardo Glenn, Jamir Hughes, Nasir Sharpe, Dwayne Smallwood, and Braden Yartz in Count 1 with conspiring to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, 100 grams or more of heroin, 10 grams or more of acetyl fentanyl, a quantity of cocaine, and a quantity of cocaine base from January 2017 to June 2020. Counts 2, 7-12, 19, and 21-27 charge the defendants with distributing those controlled substances. Counts 3-6, 13-18, and 20 of the Indictment charge several of the defendants with distributing the controlled substances within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds.

Overton, age 39, Askew, age 38, Fray, age 22, Glenn, age 28, Hughes, age 19, Sharpe, age 22, and Smallwood, age 41, have had Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Butler, Pennsylvania, residences. Cook, age 30, has resided in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Yartz, age 28, has resided in Lyndora, Pennsylvania.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison for the conspiracy crime charged in Count 1 of the Indictment and a fine of up to $5,000,000. The law also provides for a maximum total sentence for each of Counts 2, 7-12, 19, and 21-27 of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. In addition, the law provides for a maximum total sentence for each of Counts 3-6, 13-18, and 20 of at least one year and up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentences imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal histories of the defendants.

Assistant United States Attorneys Yvonne M. Saadi and Craig W. Haller are prosecuting this case on behalf of the United States.

The Pennsylvania State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Opiate Overdose Task Force and the Butler County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force led the investigation leading to the return of the Indictment in this case.

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

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated June 24, 2020