“SCO” Gang Associate Admits Trafficking Heroin
PITTSBURGH, PA – A former resident of Allegheny County pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of narcotics trafficking, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Justin Law, age 30, formerly of Wilkinsburg, PA, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin before United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force conducted a long-term investigation of drug trafficking occurring in and around the Braddock section of Pittsburgh. Law and other individuals were identified as members or associates of a neighborhood based street gang, self-titled "SCO", which illegally distributed controlled substances in the Greater Pittsburgh Region. In January of 2019, investigators obtained authorization to conduct a federal wire investigation, which continued through May of 2019.
As to Law, the Court was informed that intercepted communications confirmed that Law was conspiring with others to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances. Law admitted, in conjunction with his guilty plea, that he is an associate of one of the main members of the conspiracy and of "SCO." The Court was further informed that Law was a fugitive from June 12, 2019, when law enforcement executed numerous federal arrest and search warrants, until October 3, 2019, when he was arrested by the United States Marshals Western District of Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force. Law accepted responsibility for the distribution of at least 100 but not less than 400 grams of heroin.
Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for Wells on May 11, 2020, at 9:00 AM. The law provides for a sentence of not less than 5 years and not more than 40 years in prison, a fine of not more than $5,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Law remains detained pending sentencing.
Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca L. Silinski is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Allegheny County Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Narcotics, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. Other assisting agencies include the Monroeville Police Department, Penn Hills Police Department, Wilkinsburg Police Department, and Allegheny County Adult Probation.
The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.