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Press Release

Felon Admits He Illegally Possessed Weapons

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH - One resident of Braddock, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal firearms laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Thomas Cole, 45, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge David Stewart Cercone.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on February 14, 2019, Cole possessed a semi-automatic handgun and a semi-automatic rifle that was capable of accepting a large capacity magazine. Cole is prohibited from possessing these firearms because he is a convicted felon.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for December 2, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Cole remains detained pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorney Mark V. Gurzo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

This case is being prosecuted under Project Safe Neighborhoods, a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent, deter and prosecute gun crime. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Police, Alleghany County Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Cole.


Updated July 26, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods