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Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Caught in Wiretap Investigation Pleads Guilty to Drug Charge

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

PITTSBURGH - A Pittsburgh resident has pleaded guilty in federal court to violating federal narcotics laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Mbuotidem Essiet, 24, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge William S. Stickman, IV.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Essiet conspired to distribute and possessed with intent to distribute heroin from June of 2019 through December of 2019. Investigators obtained court authorization to conduct Title III interceptions of communications occurring over a telephone belonging to one of Essiet’s codefendants. Essiet was intercepted communicating with his codefendant about acquiring quantities of heroin, the price of heroin, and the quality of the heroin. Essiet was also observed at his codefendant’s residence through electronic surveillance.

Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for September 29, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Mark V. Gurzo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Allegheny County Police Department, the Stowe Township Police Department, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the Office of the Attorney General, the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office, the North Versailles Police Department, the Allegheny County Port Authority Police Department, the Munhall Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

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 May 19, 2020

Drug Trafficking