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Alleged drug pipeline from Philly to Butler dismantled by joint task force

June 24, 2020 News Extra

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Nine Pennsylvania residents were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh for fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine trafficking in the Butler County area.

“Today, we dismantled a significant Philadelphia-to-Butler drug organization whose pipeline brought fentanyl, heroin and cocaine into Butler communities, including near neighborhood playgrounds and schools,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Brady in a press release issued by his department. “Our successful partnerships with the Pennsylvania State Police and Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger and his Drug Task Force have allowed us to take the fight against illegal drugs to all of our communities, including our small towns and rural communities. We want drug dealers to know there is nowhere for them to set up shop in western Pennsylvania.”

According to Major Stephen K. Eberle of the Pennsylvania State Police, the investigation was a partnership between the Pennsylvania State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Butler County Drug Task Force and the United States Attorney's Office, including state troopers, federal agents, police officers and attorneys.

"(The group) worked tirelessly to disrupt and ultimately dismantle a large drug trafficking network responsible for distributing a significant quantity of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine throughout the Butler County region," said Eberle in a press release issued by Brady's office.

The 27-count grand jury indictment was returned June 9 and unsealed Wednesday. It includes charges of conspiring to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, 100 grams or more of heroin, 10 grams or more of acetyl fentanyl, a quantity of cocaine, and a quantity of cocaine base between January 2017 to June 2020; distributing those controlled substances; and distributing the controlled substances within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds.

Charged are Qureem Overton, 39; Bobby Askew, 38; Jasmine Cook, 30; Damion Fray, 22; Ricardo Glenn, 28; Jamir Hughes, 19; Nasir Sharpe, 22; Dwayne Smallwood, 41; and Braden Yartz, 28. According to a press release issued by Brady's office, Overton, Askew, Fray, Glenn, Hughes, Sharpe and Smallwood, all have addresses in Philadelphia and Butler. Cook has resided in New Kensington; and Yartz has resided in Lyndora.

“Thanks to a joint investigation between the FBI, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Butler County Drug Task Force, high level suppliers of heroin and cocaine were indicted and arrested today in Butler County and other areas in Western Pennsylvania,” said Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger. “This collaborative effort will put a serious dent in drug trafficking in Butler County, making our community a safer place to live and work."

This is an excerpt of a larger article that will appear in Thursday's Butler Eagle. To read the full story, make sure to pick up the newspaper or subscribe online.

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