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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 10, 2020

“SCO” Gang Member Sentenced to 70 Months Imprisonment

PITTSBURGH, PA -A former resident of Wilmerding, Pennsylvania, was sentenced in federal court on July 8, 2020 on his conviction of narcotics trafficking, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Senior United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab imposed the sentence of 70 months imprisonment followed by four years of supervised release on Richard Coto-Wheat, 27.

According to information presented to the Court, the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force conducted a long-term investigation of drug trafficking occurring in and around the Braddock section of Pittsburgh. Wells 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. Wells, along with 32 others were indicted in June of 2019 by a federal grand jury in three separate, but related, Indictments.

As to Coto-Wheat, the Court was informed that intercepted communications confirmed that he was conspiring with others to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 100 to 400 grams of heroin between August 2018 and May 2019. Coto-Wheat admitted, in conjunction with his guilty plea, that he is a member of “SCO.” On June 12, 2019, law enforcement executed both a search and arrest warrant at the defendant’s residence in Braddock and seized numerous items indicative of drug trafficking, including: scales, stamps, stamp pads, masks, strainers, suspected controlled substances as well as $456.00 in U.S. Currency.

Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca L. Silinski prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Brady commended the multi-agency team, which was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Wolford. Partners in this investigation 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 included 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.

Updated July 10, 2020