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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Former Pittsburgh Resident Pleads Guilty to Possessing a Loaded Handgun to Aid in Heroin Delivery to Undercover FBI Agent

PITTSBURGH, Pa – A former resident of Pittsburgh, PA pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Leonard Rushin-Felder, 23, pleaded guilty on July 16, 2017 in front of the Chief U.S. District Judge Mark R. Hornak in Pittsburgh.

The court was advised that on April 25, 2017, members of the FBI’s Western Pennsylvania Opioid Task Force executed a search warrant in the City of Pittsburgh. Based on that investigation, FBI agents were able to act in an undercover capacity to order a delivery of heroin from a co-defendant. Leonard Rushin-Felder drove the co-defendant to the delivery location when the car was intercepted by FBI agents. After Rushin-Felder and his co-defendant were detained, a search of Rushin-Felder’s car yielded a loaded semi-automatic handgun in a secret compartment in the armrest of the driver’s window and approximately 20 bricks of heroin in a secret compartment in the armrest of the passenger side window. Rushin-Felder admitted to possessing that firearm to further the delivery of the heroin. Rushin-Felder has been detained and will continue to be detained pending sentencing which Judge Hornak set for November 8, 2019. Rushin-Felder is also serving a federal sentence for assaulting two United States Marshals during his arraignment and detention hearing on this case.

Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Lanni is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

This case was brought as part of 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.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation – Western District of Pennsylvania Opioid Task Force conducted the investigation leading to the guilty plea in this case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation –Western District of Pennsylvania Opioid Task Force Task Force is comprised of FBI Special Agents and state and local Task Force Officers, including officers from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Sherriff’s Department, Allegheny County Police, Port Authority Police, Munhall Police Department, Sto-Rox Police Department, and Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated July 17, 2019