Pittsburgh Woman, Ronika Somerville Sentenced for Role in Drug Trafficking Activity of South Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (STL.News) A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 2 years’ probation on her conviction 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.
According to information presented to the court, Somerville pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl before United States District Judge William S. Stickman IV. The defendant acknowledged her responsibility for the distribution of 6 grams of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. Ms. Somerville was one of 40 defendants charged in the case.
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 Ronika Somerville was involved in the distribution of heroin and fentanyl. Specifically, Ms. Somerville conducted narcotics transactions on behalf of her brother and codefendant, Ronald Williams, by obtaining the drugs from stash locations and physically distributing heroin and fentanyl to customers.
Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Stickman stated that given Somerville’s minimal participation in the drug trafficking conspiracy and her lack of any criminal history, a sentence of probation served as just punishment and sufficient deterrence.
Assistant United States Attorneys Carolyn J. Bloch and Brendan J. McKenna prosecuted 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 MarshalsFugitive Task Force, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task ForceProgram (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination thatallows federal and state agencies to work togetherto successfully identify, investigate, and prosecutemajor interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.