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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 15, 2021

Pittsburgh Woman Sentenced to 2½ Years for Mid-Level Role in DS44 Gang’s Drug Trafficking

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 30 months’ imprisonment and three years’ supervised release on her conviction of conspiring to distribute fentanyl and other drugs, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

United States District Judge William S. Stickman, IV imposed the sentence on Danasia McNeal, age 23, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

According to information presented to the court, in 2017, the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force initiated an investigation targeting the Darccide/Smash 44, or DS44, neighborhood gang, and its drug-trafficking activity, in and around the South Side area of Pittsburgh. As part of the large-scale narcotics and firearms investigation, in February of 2019, the United States received authorization to intercept several the subjects’ wire communications, which continued through June of 2019.

Intercepted communications as well as recorded jail calls and visits revealed that McNeal had agreed to operate her boyfriend, codefendant James Givner’s drug trafficking business while he was incarcerated at the Allegheny County jail. McNeal distributed drugs with the assistance of Christopher Highsmith, a high-level participant in the charged drug-trafficking activity. McNeal ultimately accepted responsibility for the distribution of 65 grams of heroin and fentanyl in the Pittsburgh area as a condition of the plea. She is one of 40 individuals charged in the case.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Stickman stated that a 30-month term of imprisonment reflected McNeal’s mid-level role in the conspiracy as well as her lack of criminal history, her earlier employment, and the close and supportive relationship she had with her family.

Assistant United States Attorneys Carolyn J. Bloch and Brendan McKenna prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Allegheny County Adult Probation, Allegheny County Police Department, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Narcotics, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Wilkinsburg Police Department. Other assisting agencies include the Green Tree Police Department, New York City Police Department, Mount Oliver Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Yonkers Police Department, United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

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 March 15, 2021