Wilkinsburg man guilty of heroin-fentanyl operation at Monroeville hotel
A Wilkinsburg man has pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell more than 200 grams of heroin and fentanyl after officials caught his drug-dealing crew operating out of a Monroeville hotel, federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh said Tuesday.
Termane Thomass Eleam, 32, was convicted on one federal drug charge, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said.
Eleam faces up a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $20 million or both.
According to prosecutors, officers with Homeland Security and state and Monroeville police executed a search warrant for two specific rooms at the Days Inn in Monroeville on Nov. 3, 2016.
While searching one room, investigators found two men and suspected heroin, gloves, packaging materials, blenders and several cellphones.
In the second room, officials found a cousin of Eleam “bagging the suspected heroin in exchange for payment,” Brady said.
The drugs later tested positive for about 200 grams of heroin and furanyl fentanyl, an analogue of fentanyl, prosecutors said.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid painkiller that can be 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin. As little as 2 or 3 nanograms per milliliter of blood of fentanyl can be deadly.
Eleam, who had left the Days Inn shortly before officials arrived, returned to the hotel during the search, prosecutors said. They searched him and his car and found marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy prosecuted the case.
U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer has scheduled a sentencing for March.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.