PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of narcotics 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.
Jonathan Laur, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl before United States District Judge William S. Stickman IV. Mr. Laur and is one of 22 defendants charged in the Superseding Indictment. The defendant ultimately accepted responsibility for the distribution of 12 grams of heroin and fentanyl.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that in 2017, the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, initiated an investigation primarily targeting the Darccide/Smash 44, or DS44, neighborhood gang, and drug-trafficking activity in and around the South Side area of Pittsburgh. As part of this large-scale narcotics and firearms investigation, the United States received authorization to conduct a federal wire investigation, which continued through June of 2019. Intercepted communications revealed that the defendant distributed bag and bundle level quantities on behalf of a co-conspirator. Additionally, law enforcement arrested Mr. Laur in June 2019 while he was in possession of narcotics he had just obtained from a co-conspirator. Mr. Laur ultimately accepted responsibility for the distribution of 12 grams of heroin and fentanyl in the Pittsburgh area as a condition of the plea.
Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for February 23, 2021 at 10:30 am. The law provides for a total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $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. Mr. Laur remains in detention pending the sentencing hearing.
Assistant United States Attorneys Carolyn 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.