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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 29, 2022

Pittsburgh Man Pleads Guilty to Participating in Heroin Trafficking Organization

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

Martise Smith, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin from June of 2019 through December of 2019, before United States District Judge William S. Stickman, IV.  Smith is one of seven defendants charged in the Indictment returned in this case.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that in 2019 the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating a heroin trafficking organization operating throughout the greater Pittsburgh area of which Smith was a member.  Beginning in July of 2019 and continuing through August of 2019, the FBI initiated a Title III wiretap investigation into the organization.  Smith was intercepted communicating with his codefendants and agreeing to supply them with distribution quantities of heroin.  Through extensive physical and electronic surveillance, Smith was observed meeting with his codefendants to sell them the heroin. 

Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for Jan. 31, 2023.  The law provides for a total sentence of not less than five years to a maximum of 40 years of imprisonment, a fine not to exceed $5,000,000, 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.  Smith remains in custody pending sentencing.

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

The FBI, 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 prosecution of Smith. 

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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated August 30, 2022