and Illegally Possessing Firearms and Ammunition
PITTSBURGH, PA - A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of violating federal narcotics trafficking and firearms laws, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.
Jason Evans, 44, formerly of Earl Street, Pittsburgh, PA, pleaded guilty on July 23, 2021, to two counts before United States District Judge Robert J. Colville.
In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that Mr. Evans was identified as a member of a large-scale drug trafficking operation, responsible for trafficking cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The investigation was the result of the efforts of the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to identify the criminal activity, including drug and firearms trafficking, of individuals who are members and/or associates of a violent, outlaw motorcycle gang known as the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club (PMC).
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation began in January of 2020, and beginning in August of 2020 and continuing through November 2020, the FBI conducted a federal Title III investigation, which resulted in the interception of thousands of wire and electronic communications over a total of ten telephones, including co-defendants Bill Rana and Eric Armes, who were PMC members.
Evans, although not a member of the PMC, was a close associate of Rana’s, who was a “fully patched” member of the PMC and Sergeant of Arms for the Pittsburgh Chapter. Rana is charged in both counts of the conspiracy and his telephone was intercepted for approximately 90 days. Investigators also obtained search warrants for Rana’s Facebook account, which provided law enforcement with many inculpatory communications, conducted controlled purchase of controlled substances, as well as conducted physical and electronic surveillance of among others, Mr. Evans.
Evans accepted responsibility for distributing 309 grams of cocaine and the investigation revealed that Evans was capable of middling deals for Rana.
Additionally, the Court was advised that on December 8, 2020, law enforcement executed numerous federal arrest and search warrants, in conjunction with the takedown of this investigation. Specifically, law enforcement conducted a search warrant at Evans’ residence and seized approximately 10 ounces of cocaine as well as two firearms, ammunition, magazines, and over $10,000.
Because Evans, a convicted felon, is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition, he also pled guilty to another charge related to the firearms.
Judge Colville scheduled sentencing for Dec. 2, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence, as to the drug charge, of not more than 30 years in prison, a fine of $2,000,000, or both. The law further provides for a total sentence, for the gun charge, of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine of $25,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca L. Silinski is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the United States Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigations. Other assisting agencies include the Allegheny County Police Department Homicide Unit, Baldwin Police Department, Brentwood Police Department, McKees Rocks Police Department, Stowe Township Police Department and West Deer Township Police Department.
This 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.