Five Charged in Heroin Overdose Deaths of Three Pittsburgh-area Residents
PITTSBURGH – Several area men have been charged with distribution of heroin resulting in an overdose death, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today. The five men are named in three separate indictments, returned on July 21 and unsealed a day later, relating to the January 2015 fatal overdoses of two men and one woman. Court documents do not list the names of the deceased.
“The federal charge – distributing heroin that causes death – is not one we bring often or lightly,” stated U.S. Attorney Hickton. “However, it is the policy of this office that if we can establish that a seller of heroin caused a death, we are going to charge it. This heroin crisis requires that response.”
One indictment charges Richard Toland, 56, Edward Skrine, 58, and Anthony McCullough, 54, all of Pittsburgh, Penn., with conspiring to distribute and distributing heroin resulting in serious bodily injury and death on Jan. 25, 2015, as well as with distributing heroin on other occasions. The indictment also charges Toland with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon between January 2015 and Feb. 27, 2015. The indictment lists Toland’s six prior convictions for drug trafficking crimes as well as a prior conviction for aggravated assault. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of at least 20 years and up to life in prison.
Another indictment charges Antonio Rutherford, 26, of Pittsburgh, Penn., with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin resulting in serious bodily injury and death; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon – all from January 2015 to Feb. 9, 2015. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of at least 25 years and up to life in prison and a fine of up to $1,500,000.
The last indictment charges Andrew Micheli, 22 of Bridgeville, Penn., with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin on or about Jan. 15, 2015. The indictment also charges that the distribution resulted in the serious bodily injury and death of a user of the heroin. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of at least 20 years and up to life in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
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(s).
Assistant United States Attorney Craig W. Haller is prosecuting these cases on behalf of the United States.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, the Scott Township Police Department and the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted the investigations leading to the indictments in these cases.
An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.