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Pittsburgh FBI Rounding Up Dozens In "Bricks R Us" Heroin Ring

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The FBI announced a wide-reaching drug bust during a news conference Thursday that includes dozens of arrests in an alleged heroin ring called, "Bricks R Us."

In all, 44 people are facing federal charges in the drug ring that was based in Wilkinsburg but touched many communities.

KDKA's Harold Hayes Reports:

Some of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to use juveniles as runners for the heroin operation, but they are all charged with being a part of the alleged Bricks R Us gang, or the BRU Gang.

"It quickly branched out to encompass Duquesne, Penn Hills, Monroeville, as well as the City of Pittsburgh and other locations in Allegheny County, in Westmoreland County, Armstrong County and Indiana County," said U.S. Attorney David Hickton. "In fact, it stretched all the way to Newark, New Jersey."

New Jersey turned out to be the source of much of the heroin that branched out from the operation's base in Wilkinsburg. Often they wore tee-shirts which read "a hundred bricks at a time."

"They brazenly conducted most of their drug trafficking along the Monroeville business district in open parking lots and bathroom doors," said Hickton.

There were 44 indictments, but by early afternoon 15 defendants were still at large and during the news conference at FBI headquarters on the South Side, three more were taken into custody.

Those three arrested include:

  • Kenneth Mitchell of Penn Hills
  • Robert Dorsey of Pittsburgh
  • Samuel Brooks of Wilkinsburg

KDKA's Harold Hayes Reports:

In all, investigators seized more than $500,000 in cash, as well as drugs and guns.

Even seasoned investigators were amazed at the open nature of the operation.

"A large number of these transactions were done open, in a brazen fashion with people wearing tee-shirts advertising what they were doing. And that's unusual," said Hickton.

This investigation is not directly tied to the fentanyl-laced heroin that caused so many deaths during the winter. That's now part of a national investigation that is ongoing.

FBI Announces Heroin Bust

At Monroeville's Miracle Mile shopping center Thursday evening, KDKA caught up with a few people and asked them for their reactions to the big drug bust.

Taja Wilson, of Monroeville, said it's pretty unbelievable.

"I think most people have an idea where things happen, but this gives that a different perspective," said Wilson.

KDKA's Ralph Iannotti Reports:

"You would think, not here," John Pavlick said. "It doesn't come to mind when you say Monroeville."

A woman who didn't want to be identified told us: "It's very sad, because we're trying to change the perception of Monroeville."

MORE INFORMATION: Department of Justice releases names of those indicted (PDF)

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