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Press Release

Verona Teen Sentenced to Prison for Role in DS44 Gang’s Drug Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, PA -- A resident of Verona, PA, has been sentenced in federal court to 15 months of imprisonment followed by two years of supervised released on his conviction of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of fentanyl and heroin, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

United States District Judge William S. Stickman IV imposed the sentence on Roderick Ferguson, age 19.

According to information presented to the court, Ferguson was a part of an investigation targeting the Darccide/Smash 44 or DS44 neighborhood gang and its drug trafficking activity, in and around the South Side area of Pittsburgh. As part of this large-scale narcotics and firearms investigation, from approximately February of 2019 through June of 2019, the United States received authorization to intercept communications on nine telephones as part of the investigation.

Intercepted communications revealed that Roderick Ferguson was involved in the distribution of heroin and fentanyl, including serving as a runner for co-conspirator Christopher Highsmith.

Assistant United States Attorneys Brendan J. McKenna and Carolyn J. Bloch prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Allegheny County Adult Probation, Allegheny County Police Department, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Narcotics, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Wilkinsburg Police Department. Other assisting agencies include the Green Tree Police Department, New York City Police Department, Mount Oliver Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Yonkers Police Department, United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

This prosecution is a result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. 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.

Updated April 12, 2021

Drug Trafficking