Two Plead Guilty in Safe Streets Task Force Investigation into Drug Trafficking by the “SCO” Gang
PITTSBURGH, PA - Two former residents of Southwestern 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.
Michael Rose, 28, formerly of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty to three counts related to drug trafficking and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, before Senior United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
Lisamarie Ross, 35, formerly of New Alexandria, pleaded guilty to two counts related to drug trafficking, also before Judge 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. Michael Rose, Lisamarie Ross, 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.
During that time period, the Court was informed, that intercepted communications confirmed that Rose was conspiring with others to distribute controlled substances in Western Pennsylvania. On April 15, 2019, Rose was apprehended by law enforcement while conducting a drug transaction in the parking lot of the Monroeville Mall. After arresting MRose and seizing a firearm, which Rose was not permitted to possess, as well as heroin, cocaine and cocaine base packaged for resale from the vehicle, Rose broke free from law enforcement and ran into the Monroeville Mall while in handcuffs. After he was apprehended, law enforcement found $829.00 on his person. The Court accepted Rose’s guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute 198.4 grams of heroin, 28 grams of cocaine, and 154 grams of cocaine base, commonly known as crack.
As to Ms. Ross, the Court was informed that intercepted communications confirmed that she was conspiring with others to distribute controlled substances in Western Pennsylvania. The Court was informed that Ross was intercepted brokering drug transactions between members of the conspiracy and her drug customers. The Court accepted Ross’s guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute 32 grams of heroin and 120 grams of cocaine base, commonly known as crack.
Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for April 22, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. for Rose and April 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. for Ross. For both defendants, the law provides for a total sentence of not less than five years and not more than 40 years in prison, with a maximum fine of $7,250,000 for Rose and a maximum fine of $6,000,000 for Ross. 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. Both Mr. Rose and Ms. Ross remain incarcerated 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.