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Press Release

Felon Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Possessing a Pistol

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

PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 46 months’ imprisonment with credit for time served on any federal detainer; and three years supervised release, on his conviction of violating federal firearms laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon imposed the sentence on Melvin Russaw, age 38.

According to information presented to the court, on or about June 6, 2017, Russaw was apprehended by law enforcement on state charges, after attempting to flee in his 2008 Gray Chevy Impala. Upon execution of a search warrant for the vehicle, which was registered to Russaw, investigators discovered a small panel wherein a Glock, model 21, .45 caliber pistol, bearing serial number HVH758, was hidden. Russaw, who has multiple prior felony state convictions, as well as a federal conviction, is prohibited from lawfully possessing a firearm.

Judge Bissoon ordered that the sentence imposed in this case run concurrently with the state sentence imposed on Mr. Russaw, at Docket Number 10326-2017, in the Court of Common Pleas Allegheny County, Criminal Division, on October 1, 2019.

Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca L. Silinski prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Brady commended the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Russaw. This case was brought under Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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.

Updated September 25, 2020

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses