Pennsylvania Man Admits Trafficking Cocaine and Shooting an ATF Special Response Team Member

court house© DRex Wholster / Getty Images / Canva

PITTSBURGH, PA — A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to violating the federal narcotics and firearms laws, and to having assaulted a federal agent with a dangerous weapon, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced.

Dion Williams, 46, formerly of Marion Street, Pittsburgh, PA, pleaded guilty to three counts before United States District Judge Stephanie L. Haines.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that beginning in 2019, agents with the FBI and other agencies investigated drug trafficking activity in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood, and elsewhere. As part of that investigation, agents conducted court-authorized interceptions of telephonic communications over two telephones used by a codefendant between February 2020 through May 2020. During this period, agents intercepted Williams communicating regarding the purchase and redistribution of cocaine. In connection with his guilty plea, Williams admitted that the amount of cocaine that was attributable to him, through his conduct and through the foreseeable conduct of co-conspirators, was between 500 grams and 2 kilograms.

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The court was also informed that on June 18, 2020, an ATF Special Response Team (“SRT”) arrived at Williams’ residence to execute search warrants on the building and to arrest Williams on the indictment charging Williams with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. After the SRT operators loudly and repeatedly announced themselves, including through the PA system of an ATF SRT vehicle, one of the ATF agents on the SRT team rammed open a door to the structure. The door swung back shut, and the agent had to try breach it again. After the agent breached the door the second time, Williams, who was inside the building, shot the SRT operator one time through the shoulder. Fortunately, the operator was quickly taken to a hospital and was not permanently injured. After Williams shot the agent, he apparently disassembled the firearm and hid different components of it in the residence; the disassembled firearm was later found underneath the basement steps of the residence, while the magazine and ammunition were recovered hidden in a false ceiling on the second floor. Williams did not immediately surrender but rather, was taken into custody, without further incident, several minutes after the shooting.

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Judge Haines scheduled sentencing for October 27, 2022, at 1:30 PM. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 10 years up to life in prison, a fine of $8,500,000, 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. Pending sentencing, the court ordered that Williams remain detained in the custody of the United States Marshals.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jerome Moschetta and Doug Maloney are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The narcotics investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which led the multi-agency investigation that included the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (Bureau of Narcotics Investigations), the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. That prosecution is a result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States. OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives led the investigation that led to the prosecution of Williams for his involvement in the
shooting of the ATF agent.

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