CLAIRTON (KDKA) – Federal law enforcement officials said they have broken the back of a cocaine distribution network that is supplying the Mon Valley and the eastern suburbs.
During a press conference Wednesday, federal prosecutors said the network stretched to Atlanta, Ga. and Dallas, Texas.
In coordinated raids on Tuesday, 250 law enforcement officers arrested 20 of the suspects and are looking for the others.
They’re charged with smuggling the drugs into Clairton and distributing them throughout the Mon Valley and eastern suburbs.
However, some are still at large and reward money is being offered for information leading to their capture.
“We believe someone watching this news conference may know where they are, or has information that will help us take them into custody,” FBI Special Agent Michael Rodriguez said.
The fugitives are part of a 42-person indictment handed down by a federal grand jury charging them with conspiracy to distribute powder cocaine and crack cocaine.
“Freedom from fear is a basic right and this office will pursue violent criminals who tyrannize our neighborhoods and they will feel the full force of the law, as it can be marshaled by this office,” U.S. Attorney David Hickton said.
Flanked by local law enforcement including the County Police and the County Sheriff’s Office, Hickton announced the indictments and said they would prosecute to the fullest.
The multi-agency investigation uncovered overlapping networks distributing the drugs in McKeesport, Duquesne, Monroeville, Penn Hills and Wilkinsburg. Hickton said the indictments will make those communities safer.
“Today’s action and others we have announced, are evidence of a commitment and hopefully we can begin to restore quality of life to law-abiding citizens in Clairton and surrounding communities,” Hickton said.