Thursday, October 08, 2020

New York City Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Supplying DS44 Gang with Heroin and Fentanyl

 PITTSBURGH - A former resident of the Bronx borough of New York City, has been sentenced in federal court to 12 years’ imprisonment to be followed by a term of supervised release of 3 years on his conviction of 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.

United States District Judge William S. Stickman, IV imposed the sentence on Holiday Vaughn, age 36, formerly of New York, New York.

According to information presented to the court at the time of his guilty plea, the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force initiated an investigation in 2017, 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, in February 2019, the United States received authorization to conduct a federal wire investigation, which continued through June of 2019.

The court was further advised that Mr. Vaughn was a supplier of heroin and fentanyl to the drug trafficking organization, and that law enforcement officials intercepted conversations between Vaughn and his co-conspirator, Christopher Highsmith, discussing drug transactions. Additionally, law enforcement recovered 23 grams of fentanyl and heroin during a traffic stop on May 29, 2019, when Vaughn was traveling to Pittsburgh from New York. In connection with his guilty plea, Vaughn also accepted responsibility for distributing and possessing with intent to distribute 39 grams of heroin and fentanyl in the Pittsburgh area.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Stickman noted the defendant’s early admission of criminal conduct and his obvious desire to turn his life around going forward.

Assistant United States Attorneys Carolyn J. Bloch and Brendan J. McKenna 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 case is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program, known as OCDETF. OCDETF was established in 1982 to support comprehensive investigations and prosecutions of major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. It is the keystone of the drug reduction strategy of the Department of Justice. By combining the resources and expertise of federal agencies and their state and local law enforcement partners, OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the most serious drug trafficking, money laundering, and transnational criminal organizations.

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