Skip to main content
Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Crack Cocaine

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

PITTSBURGH, PA - A former Pittsburgh resident pleaded guilty in federal court on July 22, 2022, to violating the federal narcotics laws, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Ronald Lewis III, 34, formerly of the City’s East Hills neighborhood, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base (in the form commonly known as “crack”) before United States District Judge Stephanie L. Haines.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that beginning in 2019, agents with the FBI and other agencies investigated drug trafficking activity in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood, and elsewhere. As part of that investigation, agents conducted court-authorized interceptions of telephonic communications over a telephone utilized by codefendant Victor Simmons, who was convicted in February 2021 of conspiring with Lewis to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base. Through those intercepted communications, surveillance, and other evidence, the Government would have proven that Lewis distributed cocaine base to Simmons on several occasions between January and April 2020, which Simmons, in turn, redistributed to others. In connection with his plea, Lewis admitted that the quantity of cocaine base attributable to him was at least 28 grams but less than 112 grams.

Judge Haines scheduled sentencing for December 2022. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than five years and up to 40 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court returned Lewis to the custody of the United States Marshals Service. The defendant has been detained since his arrest in May 2020.

Assistant United States Attorney Jerome A. Moschetta is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives led the multi-agency investigation that included the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (Bureau of Narcotics Investigations), the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.

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 July 25, 2022

Drug Trafficking