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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 19, 2019

West Mifflin Man Operated Marijuana Stash House in Squirrel Hill Apartment

PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges related to drug trafficking, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Wayne Barker, age 61, pleaded guilty to two counts before Senior United States District Judge Arthur J. 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 in the Western District of Pennsylvania. In April of 2019, investigators obtained authorization for the interception of wire and electronic communications over a telephone operated by another member of the conspiracy, which continued through May of 2019.

Based in part upon intercepted communications, on May 24, 2019, law enforcement established surveillance in the vicinity of an apartment on Covode Street in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which was identified by investigators as a large-scale marijuana stash house operated by Barker. While conducting surveillance, law enforcement officials observed a Dodge Ram operated by another member of the conspiracy pull into the driveway of the apartment where several individuals unloaded boxes into the apartment and then loaded two additional boxes into the Dodge Ram. Investigators executed federal search warrants on the vehicle and the apartment, and seized $469,475 from the Dodge Ram. Additionally, the Court was informed that law enforcement seized 404 pounds of marijuana and an additional $5,012 from the apartment as well as vacuum sealers, a money counter and other items indicative of large-scale drug-trafficking.

Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for May 12, 2020 at 10:00 AM. The law provides for a maximum sentence, as to each count, of not less than five and not more than 40 years in prison, a fine of not more than $5,000,000, or both. 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 defendant. Mr. Barker remains 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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated December 19, 2019