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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 3, 2022

Former Baldwin Man Sentenced for Dealing Drugs

PITTSBURGH - A resident of suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 10 years’ imprisonment on his conviction of violating federal narcotics trafficking laws, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

United States District Judge Robert J. Colville imposed the sentence on Thomas Snelsire, 47, formerly of Baldwin, PA.

According to information presented to the court, the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, conducted a long-term investigation into drug-trafficking activity occurring in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Law enforcement identified several individuals, suspected at the time, of illegally distributing controlled substances, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in Allegheny, Westmoreland, Erie, Fayette, and Washington Counties.

Beginning in August of 2020 and continuing through November 2020, the FBI conducted a federal Title III investigation, which resulted in the interception of thousands of wire and electronic communications over a total of ten telephones. Three of the intercepted telephones were used by Mr. Snelsire’s co-defendant, Anthony Peluso, to further his illegal drug trafficking activity. Snelsire, an associate of Peluso’s and a drug-trafficker in the Baldwin, and surrounding neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, dealt controlled substances out of his residence on Oakleaf Road, during the course of the conspiracy.

The Court was further informed that during intercepted communications, Snelsire and Peluso discussed various types and quantities of controlled substances. For example, in September of 2020, Snelsire obtained cocaine from Peluso but was intercepted over a period of several days complaining to Peluso about the quality of the cocaine. At one point, during these communications, Snelsire informed Peluso that he placed the cocaine on a napkin, which he set on a plate, telling Peluso: “I got it under lamp in living room.” Snelsire was attempting to salvage the cocaine by drying it out so that he could sell it to his drug customers. But, on September 13, 2020, law enforcement – in an unrelated matter – executed a search warrant at Mr. Snelsire’s residence on Oakleaf Road. During the search, law enforcement located suspected cocaine, laying on a napkin, on a plate, that was located under a lamp in the living room of the home.

Snelsire accepted responsibility for distributing at least 500 grams of cocaine and at least 100 grams of heroin during the conspiracy..

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Colville stated that this was a serious offense and the sentence imposed is sufficient but not greater than necessary to meet the goals of sentencing.

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

United States Attorney Chung commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which led the multi-agency investigation of this case, including the United States Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigations. Other assisting agencies include the Allegheny County Police Department Homicide, Baldwin Police Department, Brentwood Police Department, McKees Rocks Police Department, Stowe Township Police Department and West Deer Township Police Department.

This prosecution is a result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States. OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Snelshire.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated March 3, 2022