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Press Release

Judge Sentences Pittsburgh Man to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Drug and Gun Offenses

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

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 25 years in prison on his conviction of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, possession with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, possession of firearms in connection with a drug trafficking offense, possession of firearms by a convicted felon, and possession of an unregistered firearm, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon imposed the sentence on Richard Bush, 53, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

According to information presented to the court, Bush supplied heroin to members of a violent street gang called the East Hills Bloods, who operated out of the East Hills section of Pittsburgh. A search warrant executed at his home on March 14, 2012 led to the seizure of more than 9,000 stamp bags of heroin and a cache of firearms secreted throughout his home, including a sawed-off shotgun. Bush conspired with among others, Mayank Mishra and Willis Wheeler, both of whom are awaiting sentencing. Mishra participated in the heroin distribution conspiracy by supplying stamp bags and material used to dilute heroin to Bush and numerous other Pittsburgh area heroin dealers for more than a decade at his Rock America store, which was operated out of the Northway Mall. Search warrants executed at Rock American and at Mishra’s home on Feb. 26, 2013 led to the seizure of more than two million stamp bags, which, if filled with heroin, would have amounted to more than 75 kilograms of heroin. Federal agents also seized a vast inventory of materials used to dilute heroin and more than $900,000 in cash, which the jury forfeited to the United States as proceeds of his crimes. Wheeler, who was convicted at a trial earlier this year, supplied the undiluted heroin that Bush processed for retail distribution in a laboratory he maintained in the basement of his home. On March 14, 2012, the federal agents found more than 700 grams of heroin in Wheeler’s car and an apartment he maintained for the purposes of storing heroin.

Assistant United States Attorneys Brendan T. Conway and Donovan Cocas prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Bush, Mishra and Wheeler. The Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force consists of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Sheriff's Office, Wilkinsburg Police Department, Allegheny County Police Dept., Oakdale Police Dept, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force also received assistance in this case from the Pennsylvania State Police.

Updated June 2, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods