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25 Indicted In Drug Trafficking Bust: 'The Hazelwood Mob Is No Longer In Business'

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Officials say the Hazelwood Mob that terrorized the Pittsburgh neighborhood is no longer in business.

Twenty-five people were charged for gun trafficking and firearms violations in two separate but related indictments unsealed Thursday.

Local and federal law enforcement executed 10 raids in and around Hazelwood earlier Thursday and found multiple guns.

(Photo Credit: Tim Lawson/KDKA)
(Photo Credit: Tim Lawson/KDKA)

FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall said the Hazelwood Mob terrorized the neighborhood and was responsible for an increase in violent crime.

"We've had shootings in that area. I think just the gun violence and intimidation is enough to hold the neighborhood hostage," Pittsburgh Police Lt. Eric Kroll said.

Also known as the Down Low Gang, the group is accused of distributing at least 400 grams of fentanyl, 380 grams of crack cocaine and some heroin and fluorofentanyl since Aug. 2019.

"Years ago Hazelwood thrived along with the steel industry. But with its fortunes tied to the steel industry, it also underwent a decline. Now it is being revitalized, incapacitating the Hazelwood Mob will lead to a safer community," Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Kaufman said.

Officials say 24 of the defendants have been arrested.

"I think it's a good idea and shows it's protecting the rest of the community from a bad influence," Hazelwood neighbor Kathy Harris said.

The bust was the result of a four-month-long investigation into drug trafficking and violence in Hazelwood.

"I want the gangs and the violent offenders to know, we are coming after you and we're here to hold you accountable," Nordwall said.

Pittsburgh Police said no one should feel like a hostage in their own home.

"Freeing the neighbor from that allows the neighborhood to feel safer. I think it was really important to remove this element from this neighborhood," Lt. Kroll said.

Harris says she's glad officials are taking steps to eradicate the drugs. Neighbors hope more efforts can be done to keep the Hazelwood neighborhood safe.

"Just clean it up and give some more money to Hazelwood," said one resident who chose not to be identified.

The arrested suspects went before a federal judge and were told about the seriousness of their charges.

This is everyone named in the indictments:

  • Joshua Yarbough, 36, of Hazelwood
  • Asia Andrews, 26, of McKees Rocks
  • Justin Bailey, 34, of Braddock
  • James Correll, 30, of Hazelwood
  • Javon Grant, 20, of Hazelwood
  • Gregory Griffin, 45, of Mount Oliver
  • Neil Harris, 36, of Hazelwood
  • Jasson Hart, 19, of Hazelwood
  • Vernessa Hines, 37, of Hazelwood
  • Taemon Johnson, 20, of Hazelwood
  • Otis Mickens, 42, of Arlington
  • Delrico Shields, 25, of Hazelwood
  • Steve Smith, 30, of Hazelwood
  • Cameron Snow, 23, of Hazelwood
  • Aronde Stamps-Howard, 21, of Hazelwood
  • Rich Stanford, 57, of Pittsburgh
  • Ronald Stanford, 34, of McKeesport
  • Lawrence Strothers, Sr., 38, of Hazelwood
  • Michael Strothers, Jr., 25, of Hazelwood
  • Michael Strothers, Sr., 48, of Hazelwood
  • Moniem Strothers, 22, of Hazelwood
  • William Thomas, 43, of Pittsburgh's Hill District
  • Dorian Wood, 40, of Clairton
  • Jemeal Youngblood, 24, of Sheraden/Hazelwood
  • Kodi Downing, 33, of Swissvale

Of the 25 suspects, 24 face drug charges which carry a minimum of 10 years in prison. For suspect, Kodi Downing, the charges carry up to 10 years in prison.


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