Two Plead Guilty to Charges Related to Safe Streets Task Force Investigation into Drug Trafficking in Braddock area
PITTSBURGH, PA – Two more residents of Western Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to charges related to drug trafficking in connection with a large-scale investigation conducted by the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Reginald Brown, 29, formerly of Glassport, PA, pleaded guilty to one count related to drug trafficking, before United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
Gregory Luptak, 51, of North Huntingdon, PA, pleaded guilty to one count related to drug trafficking also before Judge Schwab.
In connection with the guilty pleas, 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 area. Reginald Brown, Gregory Luptak, 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 Reginald Brown, the Court was informed that intercepted communications confirmed that Brown was conspiring with others to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances, namely cocaine base in the form commonly known as crack. Mr. Brown admitted, in conjunction with his guilty plea, that he is a member of "SCO." The court was further advised that on June 12, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at his residence and located the following items from the kitchen cabinets indicative of drug-trafficking, including: several cell phones, a Ruger 9mm pistol with loaded magazine and chambered round, a digital scale, suspected crack cocaine, sandwich baggies and baking soda, as well as $5,490.00. The court accepted Mr. Brown’s guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, commonly known as crack, a Schedule II controlled substance, between August 2018 and May 2019.
As to Gregory Luptak, the Court was informed that intercepted communications confirmed that Luptak distributed large quantities of heroin. Mr. Luptak admitted, in conjunction with his guilty plea, that he was observed purchasing heroin at a stash house location on Seddon Avenue in Braddock, which he then distributed. The court accepted Luptak’s guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute 47 grams of heroin.
Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for May 14, 2020, at 10:00 AM for Brown and May 18, 2020, at 10:00 AM for Luptak. For Brown, the law provides for a total sentence of not less than 5 years and not more than 40 years in prison, with a maximum fine of $5,000,000. For Luptak, the law provides for a total sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000,000 at each count. 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 defendants. Williams was previously ordered detained by the court and will remain incarcerated pending sentencing. Luptak was released on bond pursuant to the court’s prior order and will remain out on bond 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.