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Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Indicted on Charges Relating to the Killing of a Federal Witness

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

PITTSBURGH – A federal grand jury today returned a second superseding indictment charging Price Montgomery with witness tampering crimes relating to the killing of federal witness Tina Crawford and the attempt to kill another witness on August 22, 2014.

The charges were announced by United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David J. Hickton, Special Agent in Charge Sam Rabadi of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Battiste of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ed Wirth of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay.

“With staunch determination we have endeavored to identify and charge the person responsible for the murder of Tina Crawford that August afternoon just minutes before she was scheduled to be interviewed at our office,” stated U.S. Attorney Hickton. “Today’s indictment demonstrates our unwavering commitment to seek justice for Tina and her family and shows we will use every tool available to pursue criminals who seek to intimidate and inflict harm on witnesses.”

“We will use every resource we have at our disposable to target those criminals who threaten or commit acts of violence against witnesses. Retaliation against witnesses will not be tolerated,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Rabadi. “Witnesses are integral to the investigative process, the judicial process, and to justice. ATF will work with our Federal, State and local law enforcement partners to investigate, charge and prosecute those who retaliate against witnesses to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The joint investigation targeting Price Montgomery and his co-defendants involved a significant amount of heroin and firearms,” said Gary Tuggle, the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Philadelphia Field Division. “Montgomery’s alleged involvement in the murder of Tina Crawford and the shooting of another witness are horrific crimes, especially when they involve a witness. We will remain vigilant in pursuing cases against individuals that seek to tamper with witnesses.”

IRS-CI Asst. Special Agent in Charge Wirth added, “Today’s indictment demonstrates IRS-Criminal Investigation’s commitment to the pursuit of justice wherever the trail might lead us. We will work with our law enforcement partners to conduct a thorough investigation that incorporates all aspects of an individual’s illegal activity and hold him accountable for his actions.”

The 10-count second superseding indictment named Montgomery, 35, (currently incarcerated); James Perrin, 37, (currently incarcerated); Charles Cook, 49, of Pittsburgh, PA; and Andre Avent, 38, of Homestead, PA, as the defendants.

According to the second superseding indictment, from April 2013, and continuing to June 2014, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, Montgomery and Perrin conspired to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. The indictment also charges that on June 8, 2014, Montgomery and Perrin, who both have prior felony convictions, possessed 16 firearms in furtherance of that drug trafficking crime. Federal law prohibits a convicted felon from possessing firearms. Montgomery, Cook and Avent are charged with conspiring to commit money laundering. The second superseding indictment returned today further charges Montgomery with tampering with a witness by killing a person (victim: Tina Crawford), use of a firearm resulting in death (victim: Tina Crawford), tampering with a witness by attempting to kill that witness (victim: Patsy Crawford) and use of a firearm in relation to attempting to kill a witness (victim: Patsy Crawford).

The indictment also contains forfeiture allegations seeking cash, vehicles and jewelry involved in the commission of these offenses and constituting proceeds of these offenses.

The law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison for Montgomery. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $10,000,000 or both for Perrin. Cook and Avent face a maximum total sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorneys Gregory J. Nescott and Shaun E. Sweeney are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Western Pennsylvania offices of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, along with the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, conducted the investigation leading to the charges in this case.

A second superseding indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated April 5, 2016

Violent Crime