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Press Release

Pittsburgh Heroin Dealer Sentenced to Life in Prison Plus 80 Years for Murdering a Federal Witness

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

PITTSBURGH – Price Montgomery has been sentenced in federal court to life in prison plus 80 years after having been found guilty at trial of retaliation against a witness by murder for the killing of Tina Crawford, attempted murder to silence a witness for the shooting of Patsy Crawford, use of a firearm during a federal crime of violence, conspiracy to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin, and money laundering, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Chief United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak imposed the sentence on Montgomery, 42, previously of the Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington section.

Evidence presented during a two-week jury trial in 2018 established that, from April 2013 until June 2014, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, Montgomery and co-defendant James Perrin conspired to distribute large quantities of heroin. On June 8, 2014, Montgomery and Perrin, who both had prior felony convictions, possessed 16 firearms in furtherance of that drug trafficking crime. Montgomery also conspired to commit money laundering by using the proceeds of his illegal drug trafficking to purchases items, including cars and lease-to-purchase agreements on homes. Finally, the evidence proved that approximately an hour before Tina Crawford was scheduled to appear at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to discuss her role as a courier in the Montgomery drug distribution organization, Price Montgomery shot and killed her and severely wounded her mother, Patsy, in the garage area of the Hill District home they shared.

“Price Montgomery, a heroin dealer and convicted felon who illegally possessed firearms, murdered Tina Crawford because she was a federal witness. Montgomery killed Crawford and severely wounded her mother just as they were walking to their car to drive to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for an interview,” said U.S. Attorney Chung. “We hope that this prosecution brought justice and closure for the Crawford family. This prosecution also served to preserve the integrity of our justice system by prosecuting to the full extent of the law a murder aimed at silencing a witness.”

“This sentencing sends a clear message to anyone who chooses to commit murder, especially a murder which directly impacts the fabric of our justice system,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Office. “There is no sentence that can ease the pain of the victim’s family, but this case highlights the impact multiple agencies can have when they join forces to make certain justice is served.”

“The extreme violence that Montgomery demonstrated through the murder of Tina Crawford and the shooting of her mother is absolutely reprehensible,” said Thomas Hodnett, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division. “Anyone who harms, or attempts to harm, a federal witness will experience the full consequences of federal criminal prosecution. For Crawford’s murder and his drug-trafficking and firearms activities, Montgomery will well-deservedly spend the rest of his life in a federal prison cell.”

“Today’s sentencing holds Price Montgomery accountable for the worst of crimes,” said Yury Kruty, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation. “The Special Agents of IRS-CI are adept at tracing the illegal proceeds involved in drug trafficking organizations. We will continue to provide our financial expertise as we work hand in hand with our law enforcement partners to bring criminals like this to justice.”

“There was great collaboration between local and federal law enforcement agencies in finding this fugitive who was on the run for several months after shooting and killing this innocent female witness,” added Phil Cornelious, Acting United States Marshal for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

“Price Montgomery will spend the rest of his life in prison for committing this heinous murder. Let this case send a clear message -- anyone who seeks to interfere in a prosecution and bring harm to a witness will face the full force of the law,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

“The sentence for Price Montgomery demonstrates a steadfast commitment to justice and underscores the responsibility of all of our law enforcement partners to continue to work together - no matter how much time has passed - to ensure that the families of victims of violent crime receive the redress they deserve,” said Acting Pittsburgh Police Chief, Thomas Stangrecki.

Assistant United States Attorneys Heidi M. Grogan and Shaun E. Sweeney prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Chung commended the Western Pennsylvania Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Price Montgomery.

Updated July 22, 2022

Violent Crime
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses