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Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Methamphetamine

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

PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to violation federal narcotics laws related to a nine-month Title III wiretap investigation into drug trafficking in and around the counties of Jefferson, Clearfield, and Allegheny, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Doug Austen, age 40, of the Carrick section of the City of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine before United States District Judge Christy Crisswell Wiegand. Austen was one of 47 defendants charged in six related indictments as part of the Return to Sender investigation.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on June 9, 2021, Austen sold another individual 84 grams of pure methamphetamine.

Judge Wiegand scheduled sentencing for March 24, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 10 years to a maximum of life in prison, a fine not to exceed $10,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court ordered the defendant remain in custody.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan D. Lusty and Michael R. Ball are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Drug Enforcement Administration led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General, United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Services, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and Pennsylvania State Police. Also assisting were the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Clearfield County District Attorney’s Office, and the Clarion Borough Police Department.

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 November 18, 2021

Drug Trafficking