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Press Release

Multi-Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty to Drug and Firearms Violations

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

PITTSBURGH, PA- A resident of Braddock, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of violating federal drug and firearms laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Mario Tiller, 41, pleaded guilty to three counts before United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti.  Specifically, Tiller pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on June 19, 2018, Pittsburgh Police surveilled the intersection of Federal Street and Eloise Street following citizen complaints of open-air drug trafficking in the area.  During their surveillance, they saw the defendant sell suspected drugs to multiple people.   Upon arresting Tiller, police seized over three dozen individually knotted bags of crack, $109 in U.S. currency, a Glock 9 millimeter pistol with six rounds of 9 millimeter ammunition in the magazine, an additional magazine containing 6 rounds of ammunition, a ZTE smart phone, and a pistol holder.  The gun had been reported stolen that same morning.  The court was further advised that Tiller had previously been convicted of multiple crimes punishable by more than one year in prison, including two convictions for possession with intent to deliver controlled substances, two convictions for terroristic threats, and one conviction for theft by unlawful taking.  Federal law prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year from possessing a firearm or ammunition. 

Judge Conti scheduled sentencing for March 24, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.  The law provides for a maximum total sentence of life in prison, a fine of $1,500,000, or both.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.  Tiller remains in custody pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorney Christy C. Wiegand is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive, along with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Tiller.  The case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is 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 December 5, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods