In her press announcement that 18 people had been arrested in connection with a major heroin operation in Wilkinsburg, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane said public safety is her major concern.
“Last year, Wilkinsburg experienced had the highest number of homicides in Allegheny County outside the city of Pittsburgh,” she said in her statement announcing the bust. “The majority of homicides and shootings stem from ongoing feuds between crews and their attempts to control the heroin trade in Wilkinsburg.”
According to a grand jury presentment supporting the arrests made Aug. 29, the Wilkinsburg Crew brought customers from as far away ad Westmorland County, and is connected to several shootings and possibly to multiple homicides.
The group, which used children as young as 13 as “runners,” was led by 20-year-old Julian Thompson and was also a major supplier for Penn Hills, Churchill and Monroeville.
After executing search warrants on several locations, the joint state county and local law enforcement task force seized a semi-automatic rifle, four handguns, more than $95,000 in cash and 250 bricks of heroin worth another $94,500.
All defendants will be tried in Allegheny County by Deputy Attorney general Michael Ahwesh.