Skip to main content
Press Release

Penn Hills Man Sentenced for Possessing Heroin

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

PITTSBURGH, PA - A former resident of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania has been sentenced in federal court to 21 months imprisonment and five years supervised release, with the first three months of supervised release to be served on home detention on his conviction of possession with intent to distribute heroin, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge Nicholas Ranjan imposed the sentence on Joseph McCoullum, 37. .

According to information presented to the Court, in the Spring of 2018, the Western Pennsylvania Opiate Task Force (WPAOTF) was investigating a series of heroin/fentanyl overdoses in the Etna and Shaler areas of Western Pennsylvania. The defendant, Joseph McCoullum, a/k/a "Steele," was identified as a heroin dealer, distributing controlled substances in Penn Hills and Shaler. Through this investigation, law enforcement identified the residence, located at 298 East Pennview Street, as one of McCoullum’s drug distribution locations.

On May 10, 2018, members of the WPAOTF conducted a search at the residence located at 298 East Pennview Street in Pittsburgh. Mr. McCoullum was located inside the residence and law enforcement located, on his person, four bricks of a mixture of mixture of heroin and fentanyl, and two bundles of a cocaine base, in the form commonly known as crack, all of which was packaged for distribution. Additionally, Mr. McCoullum was in possession of two cell phones – a flip phone and a smart phone.

In rendering the sentence, Judge Ranjan noted that a sentence at the high end of the advisory Guidelines Range, with a term of home detention, was necessary to reflect the seriousness of the offense, involving the distribution of heroin and fentanyl, and to provide deterrence to McCoullum as well as others.

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

The Western Pennsylvania Opiate Task Force, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Etna Borough Police Department, the Hampton Township Police Department, and the Shaler Township Police Department, conducted the investigation leading to the prosecution of this case.

Updated June 12, 2020

Drug Trafficking