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Justice News

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Pittsburgh Man Pleads Guilty in Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy

PITTSBURGH - A Pittsburgh resident pleaded guilty in federal court to violating federal narcotics laws, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Walter Brunson, Jr., 52, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine from June of 2020 through August of 2020, before United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan. Brunson is one of 20 defendants charged in the Superseding Indictment returned in this case.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that in 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating a drug trafficking organization, of which Brunson was a member, that operated throughout Washington County, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and New Jersey. Beginning in April of 2020 and continuing through October of 2020, the FBI received authorization to conduct a Title III wiretap investigation into the organization. Brunson was intercepted agreeing to sell distribution quantities of cocaine to his coconspirator and codefendant. In addition to the intercepted communications, agents seized cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, fentanyl, firearms, and bulk United States Currency from members of the organization, including Brunson. Specifically, on November 19, 2020, investigators executed a search warrant at Brunson’s residence and recovered distribution quantities of cocaine.

Judge Ranjan scheduled sentencing for July 18, 2022. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 20 years’ imprisonment, 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 Attorneys Mark V. Gurzo and Jerome A. Moschetta are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police Drug Law Enforcement Division conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Brunson. 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.

Drug Trafficking
Updated March 22, 2022