Duquesne Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Controlled Substances and Possessing a Firearm

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Duquesne, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of that drug trafficking crime, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Brandon McCaskill, age 28, pleaded guilty to two counts before Senior United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on August 17, 2020, officers with the Duquesne Police Department attempted to locate a suspect in an unrelated investigation at Brandon McCaskill’s residence in Duquesne, PA. Upon arriving at the residence, officers observed McCaskill seated on the front porch with a backpack between his legs. ]Officers also detected the strong odor of marijuana. As a result, law enforcement applied for and obtained a search warrant for the porch of the residence.

The backpack between McCaskill’s legs contained a loaded handgun, controlled substances packaged into 11 bricks stamped “Dr. Pepper”, and several plastic bags. A “brick” is typically comprised of 50 glassine bags. From on and underneath a couch on the porch, officers recovered two digital scales, bulk United States currency, and additional packaged controlled substances. The Drug Chemistry Section of the Office of the Medical Examiner, Allegheny County, tested the seized substances. The laboratory confirmed that the bricks marked “Dr. Pepper” contained a mixture of fentanyl and tramadol; that other bricks contained a mixture of heroin, fentanyl, and tramadol; and that some plastic baggies contained cocaine.

Judge Conti scheduled sentencing for Jan. 26, 2023, at 11:00 a.m.. The law provides for a total sentence of life in prison, a fine of $1,000,000 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 remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Assistant United States Attorney Brendan J. McKenna is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the City of Duquesne Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of McCaskill.