Pittsburgh Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Trafficking Cocaine and Shooting an ATF Special Response Team Member
PITTSBURGH, PA – United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today that Dion Williams has been sentenced in federal court to 20 years (240 months) on his conviction of violating the federal narcotics and firearms laws and for assaulting a federal agent with a dangerous weapon, and to an additional five years (60 month) for violating the terms of his supervised release for a previous drug crime conviction.
United States District Judge Stephanie L. Haines imposed the sentence on Williams, 46, formerly of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The court was previously 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 two telephones used by a co-defendant between February 2020 through May 2020. During this period, agents intercepted Williams communicating regarding the purchase and redistribution of cocaine. In connection with his guilty plea, Williams admitted that the amount of cocaine that was attributable to him, through his conduct and through the foreseeable conduct of co-conspirators, was between 500 grams and two kilograms.
The court was also previously informed that on June 18, 2020, an ATF Special Response Team (SRT) arrived at Williams’ residence to execute search warrants on the building and to arrest Williams on the indictment charging Williams with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. After the SRT operators loudly and repeatedly announced themselves, including through the PA system of an ATF SRT vehicle, one of the ATF agents on the SRT team rammed open a door to the structure. The door swung back shut, and the agent had to try breach it again. After the agent breached the door the second time, Williams, who was inside the building, shot the SRT operator one time through the shoulder. Fortunately, the operator was quickly taken to a hospital and was not fatally injured. After Williams shot the agent, he apparently disassembled the firearm and hid different components of it in the residence; the disassembled firearm was later found underneath the basement steps of the residence, while the magazine and ammunition were recovered hidden in a false ceiling on the second floor. Williams did not immediately surrender but rather, was taken into custody, without further incident, several minutes after the shooting.
“Convicted felon Dion Williams will spend the next 25 years in prison for shooting an ATF agent, for conspiring to traffic cocaine, and for violating the terms of his supervised release for a previous federal drug conviction,” said U.S Attorney Chung. “Removing violent criminals from the community is a top priority of this office.”
“This attack on one of our agents illustrates the direct correlation between drug trafficking and firearms violence,” said Eric DeGree, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division. “By working with our local, state, and federal partners, we strive to maintain public safety and make sure these types of violent individuals are taken off our streets.”
“Today, Mr. Williams will finally face the consequences for his blatant disregard for our ATF partner and the community,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “Mr. Williams’ actions that day further demonstrate the connection between violence and drug trafficking. Mr. Williams is a career criminal who thrived on selling dangerous drugs. The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to pursuing the worst and most violent offenders who continue to terrorize our neighborhoods.”
Assistant United States Attorneys Jerome Moschetta and Doug Maloney prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
The narcotics investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which 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. That 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.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives led the investigation that led to the prosecution of Williams for his involvement in the shooting of the ATF agent.