Seventeen Western Pennsylvanians Indicted for Breaking Federal Narcotics and Firearms Laws

United States Attorney's OfficeImage via United States Attorney's Office

PITTSBURGH, PA — Following a four-month long Title III wiretap investigation into drug trafficking, unlawful firearms possession, and gang activity in Pittsburgh’s Northside neighborhoods, seventeen residents of the Western District of Pennsylvania were charged by a federal grand jury on Friday in Pittsburgh in two separate but related Indictments with violations of the federal narcotics and firearms laws.

“This office is committed to protecting the residents of Western Pennsylvania from those who engage in gun violence and traffic in fentanyl and other dangerous drugs,” said United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan. “Together with our trusted law enforcement partners at the FBI, ATF, and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, we will continue to investigate and hold accountable the most dangerous offenders through effective enforcement of federal drug and firearm laws.”

“Violence doesn’t belong in our communities,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “Those indicted today have targeted the Northside in and around the Allegheny Commons for far too long. The FBI’s Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force pursues those who terrorize our communities with violence and dangerous drugs like fentanyl. We are proud to work side by side with the U.S. Attorney’s office and our state and local partners to hold these people accountable for their crimes.”

The first Indictment names Dayon Shelton, 32, of Pittsburgh, PA, as the sole defendant. According to the Indictment, on April 5, 2023, Shelton possessed with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 5 and up to 40 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

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A separate but related nineteen-count Indictment charges sixteen defendants with violations of the federal narcotics and firearms laws occurring between December 2022 and August 2023. Fifteen of the named defendants are:

  • Dejarnette Blanchard, 32, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Babangida Adam, 27, of Carnegie, Pennsylvania
  • Kenneth Blanchard, 37, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Terry Booth, aka “Sheisty,” 19, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Norman Davis, 37, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Lawrence Gray, 55, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Terry James, 23, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Clinton McLaughlin, 55, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Taemon Posey, 28, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Demetrius Reynolds, 20, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Markel Sayles, 25, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Gilbert Smith, 44, of Bruin, Pennsylvania
  • Ories Smith, 25, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Denzel Tomlin, 27, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Damor Williams, 19, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

One defendant remains a fugitive so that name is not being released at the present time.

According to this Indictment, between December 2022 and August 2023, the above-named defendants conspired with one another, and with others, to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Schedule II controlled substances, namely fentanyl and cocaine base (in the form commonly known as “crack”). Defendants Dejarnette Blanchard, Babangida Adam, Kenneth Blanchard, Terry Booth, Norman Davis, Terry James, Demetrius Reynold, and Denzel Tomlin, are also charged with possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances such as fentanyl, cocaine, and/or cocaine base on various dates during the conspiracy. Defendants Dejarnette Blanchard, Babangida Adam, Norman Davis, Terry James, Demetrius Reynolds, and Denzel Tomlin are charged with violations of the federal firearms laws for unlawfully possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and/or for possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon.

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The penalties for these crimes vary. As to the drug trafficking conspiracy charged in the Indictment, defendants Dejarnette Blanchard, Babangida Adam, Demetrius Reynolds, and Ories Smith face a maximum sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,000, or both. Defendants Kenneth Blanchard, Terry Booth, Norman Davis, Lawrence Gray, Terry James, Taemon Posey, Markel Sayles, Gilbert Smith, Denzel Tomlin, and Damor Williams face a maximum total sentence of not less than 5 and up to 40 years in prison, a fine of up $5,000,000, or both. Defendant Clinton McLaughlin faces a maximum total sentence of up 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000,000, or both. Those defendants charged with additional violations of the federal narcotics and firearms laws face potential additional terms of imprisonment and fines, if convicted. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentences imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.

Assistant United States Attorney Jerome A. Moschetta is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police led the investigation with the assistance of law enforcement officers from the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, Allegheny County Probation and Parole, and the Penn Hills Police Department.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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