Twenty-Four Defendants Indicted in Pittsburgh Drug Trafficking Ring
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh has returned an Indictment following a five-month Title III wiretap investigation targeting a drug trafficking organization operating in the Pittsburgh area. The Indictment charges a total of 24 individuals residing in Pittsburgh with violations of federal drug and firearm laws, United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.
The nine-count Indictment names the following 24 individuals as the defendants:
- LAMONT BELL, 54, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- DELANO BROWN, 36, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- ANDRE CAIN, 46, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- MARVIN COATES, 49, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- ANTHONY COKER, 46, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- MARK COOK, 55, of Clairton, Pennsylvania.
- ROBERT FIELDS, 29, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- MARVIN GRIMMIT, 68, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- TYRON HARRISON, 30, formerly of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- BRIAN HORTON, 22, formerly of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- ERIC HOWARD, 35, of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.
- WILLIAM JONES, 28, formerly of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- MICAH LATIMER, 22, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- ANTHONY LEE, 43, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- WILLIAM LEWIS, 45, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- SHAWN NORWOOD, 32, of South Park, Pennsylvania.
- EDWIN PEOPLES, 44, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- ERIC PEOPLES, 46, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- DAMON PETERS, 19, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- KEVIN RUCKER, 52, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- MAURICE SMITH, 28, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- JAMONE WATSON, 28, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- ROY WOOD, 47, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- SEAN WOODY, 32, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
According to the Indictment, from July 2022 until June 2023, Rucker was a large-scale distributor of cocaine in the Pittsburgh area, and supplied several individuals, including Coker, with substantial quantities of cocaine. Coker, in turn, supplied several other Pittsburgh-area drug traffickers, many of whom were members and associates of the “Drizzy Gang” street gang. Members and associates of this gang trafficked firearms and narcotics in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, operating an open-air drug market on Watson Street.
Specifically, from July 2022 through June 2023, Rucker, Cain, Lewis, Bell, Coker, Woody, Latimer, Brown, Lee, Watson, Cook, Eric Peoples, Edwin Peoples, Fields, Coates, Wood, Norwood, and Grimmitt allegedly conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and/or crack cocaine, Schedule II controlled substances. Additionally, between March 2023 and May 23, 2023, Jones, Watson, Peters, and Brown allegedly conspired to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance. In a third alleged conspiracy, between February 2023 and June 2023, Howard and Brown conspired to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance. Lastly, Latimer, Smith, Lee, Jones, Harrison, and Horton allegedly possessed firearms and ammunition despite being prohibited as a result of prior felony convictions.
On June 22, 2023, a 25th defendant was charged by criminal complaint. According to the charging documents, John Johnson, age 46, has been charged with drug trafficking and firearms offenses following execution of a search warrant at his residence and the resulting recovery of suspected cocaine and a loaded firearm.
“This office is committed to protecting the residents of Western Pennsylvania from those whose violent and destructive actions jeopardize the safety and well-being of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Olshan. “Together with our trusted law enforcement partners at the FBI, DEA, and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, we will continue our effort to hold accountable the most dangerous offenders through effective enforcement of federal drug and firearm laws.”
“Violent groups don’t belong in our community,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “We will continue to do everything we can to ensure the public can live free of fear, violence, and intimidation. These arrests are the direct result of the hard work and dedication of the FBI’s Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force and our partners in their efforts to combat gang members who distribute dangerous drugs like heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl in our communities.”
“Today’s announcement deals a significant blow to a drug trafficking organization that has dealt misery and pain throughout the communities of Western Pennsylvania. The DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to safeguarding the health and safety of our communities and to keeping Americans safe from the menace of drugs and the violence associated with their distribution,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Keith Hart, who is the head of DEA operations across Western Pennsylvania. “I commend the extreme hard work of the members of the DEA and our partners in making our communities safer.”
“With this indictment, several communities are breathing a little more easily today, reassured that the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and our federal law enforcement partners are consistently committed to disassembling criminal networks and inhibiting drug and gun pipelines which hurt children and families,” said Pittsburgh Police Chief Larry Scirotto. “We will continue to work closely with our local and federal partners and community members to prevent violent crime, because everyone deserves to live in secure and thriving neighborhoods.”
For Rucker, Cain, and Coker, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 10 years in prison and up to life, a fine of no greater than $10,000,000.00, a term of supervised release of at least five years, or a combination thereof. For Lewis and Woody, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 5 years in prison and up to 40 years in prison, a fine of no greater than $5,000,000, a term of supervised release of at least four years, or a combination thereof. For Bell, Latimer, Brown, Lee, Watson, Cook, Eric Peoples, Edwin Peoples, Fields, Coates, Wood, Norwood, Grimmitt, Jones, Peters, and Howard the law provides for a maximum total sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a fine of no greater than $1,000,000, a term of supervised release of at least three years, or a combination thereof. As to the firearms charges for Latimer, Smith, Lee, Jones, Harrison, and Horton, the law provides for a maximum sentence of 15 years, a fine of no greater than $250,000, and a term of supervised release of three years. For Johnson, the firearm charge carries a maximum total sentence of not less than 5 years in prison up to life, a term of supervised release of not less than three years, a fine of up to $1,500,000, or a combination thereof. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
Assistant United States Attorneys Katherine C. Jordan and Douglas C. Maloney are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case. FBI Pittsburgh’s Safe Streets Task Force comprises investigators from the FBI, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Sheriff’s office, PA Attorney General’s Office, Penn Hills Police Department, and Allegheny County Probation and Parole.
This prosecution is a result of two Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigations. 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.
An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Updated June 23, 2023