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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pittsburgh Man Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Trafficking Charges

PITTSBURGH - A 68-year-old resident of Pittsburgh, PA, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges regarding his trafficking of cocaine, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Walter John Amman, III, pleaded guilty to two counts before President United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Amman’s 77 year-old co-defendant had been purchasing kilogram level amounts of cocaine for more than two decades. The co-defendant would process the cocaine by packaging it in smaller quantities and converting some into crack. In more recent years, the current defendant would help the co-defendant with the processing, packaging and distribution of the cocaine. Two controlled purchases of cocaine were made from Amman and the DEA, IRS and Pittsburgh Police obtained search warrants for locations attributable to Amman and the co-defendant. The resulting January 11, 2017 searches resulted in law enforcement locating items which included:

- In the co-defendant’s residence: cocaine prepackaged for sale and color-coded for size; multiple firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition; large amounts of cash; multiple vehicles registered to Amman and his family

- In the co-defendant’s garage: amounts of powder cocaine; numerous inositol bottles and material to convert cocaine into crack; large amounts of cash; 3 pistols (including one registered to Amman); and a safe imbedded into the concrete floor

- At Amman’s residence; firearms; prepackaged amounts of crack and cocaine in a jacket with Amman’s name on it; keys to a truck (in the jacket); in the truck was approximately $1,000 and additional prepackaged cocaine.

The co-defendant and Amman both utilized the same color-coded bread-tie system to signify the quantities in the baggies. In this way, the co-defendant was both a buyer of large quantities and a street-level dealer, keeping all of the middleman profits for himself. Amman agreed that he himself was responsible for between 700 grams and one kilogram of cocaine, as well as the 5.767 grams of crack cocaine found at his property.

Chief Judge Hornak scheduled sentencing for June 7, 2019 at 10:30 am. The law provides for a total sentence of up to 40 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,000,000, 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.

The court ordered that the defendant remain incarcerated pending his sentencing and remanded the defendant back to the custody of the United States Marshal Service.

Assistant United States Attorney Ross E. Lenhardt is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Walter John Amman, III, with the valuable assistance of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

Drug Trafficking
Updated February 14, 2019