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Press Release

Pittsburgh Drug Dealer Sentenced to Nearly 6 Years in Prison

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

PITTSBURGH, PA- A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was sentenced in federal court to 70 months of imprisonment and four years of supervised release on his convictions of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl and possession with the intent to distribute heroin, cocaine base, and cocaine, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge William S. Stickman, IV imposed sentence on James Givner, 27.

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 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 wire investigation, which continued through June of 2019.

Intercepted communications demonstrated that Givner sold heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine base to customers, as well as facilitated drug transactions for co-defendant Christopher Highsmith. The court was further informed that during a traffic stop on January 14, 2019, the Allegheny County Police, Givner possessed more than 180 stamp bags of heroin, and a baggie containing cocaine base. In connection with his guilty plea, Mr. Givner accepted responsibility for distributing or possessing with intent to distribute 220 grams of heroin and fentanyl, and six grams of cocaine base. He also admitted to possessing a firearm in connection with his drug trafficking activity.

Assistant United States Attorneys Christy C. Wiegand and Brendan 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 case is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program, known as OCDETF. OCDETF was established in 1982 to support comprehensive investigations and prosecutions of major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. It is the keystone of the drug reduction strategy of the Department of Justice. By combining the resources and expertise of federal agencies and their state and local law enforcement partners, OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the most serious drug trafficking, money laundering, and transnational criminal organizations.

Updated September 11, 2020

Drug Trafficking