PITTSBURGH – A resident of McKees Rocks, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of fentanyl and heroin, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Lamont Benton, age 24, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge William S. Stickman, IV.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that in 2017, the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force initiated an investigation primarily 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 of 2019, the United States received authorization to conduct a federal wire investigation, which continued through June of 2019.
Benton was identified as a member of DS44 and a mid-level distributor, and in connection with his guilty plea, he accepted responsibility for distributing 39 grams of a mixture containing fentanyl and heroin. Mr. Benton is one of 40 defendants charged in the case.
Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for February 24, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than twenty years in prison, a fine not to exceed $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court ordered that Benton be detained.
Assistant United States Attorneys Carolyn J. Bloch and Brendan J. McKenna are 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 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.