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Press Release

Retired Pittsburgh Firefighter Sentenced to Nearly 3 Years in Prison for Cocaine Trafficking

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

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Pittsburgh, PA, was sentenced to two years and 10 months (34 months) in federal prison and three years of supervised release as a result of his conviction for cocaine trafficking, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Walter John Amman, III, 68, was sentenced on Friday by Chief 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 Richard Wright had been purchasing kilogram level amounts of cocaine for over two decades. The co-defendant would process the cocaine by packaging it in smaller quantities and converting some into crack. In more recent years, Walter Amman would help the co-defendant with the processing, packaging and distribution of the cocaine. Two controlled purchases of cocaine were made from Mr. Amman and the DEA, HSI, IRS-CI 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: large amounts of powder cocaine; numerous inositol bottles and material to convert cocaine into crack; large amounts of cash; three 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; and approximately $1,000 and additional prepackaged cocaine in the truck.

At his plea hearing, Amman admitted that he 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.

Judge Hornak noted that Amman is a retired Pittsburgh firefighter, that he had recently earned his High School Diploma while incarcerated, and that he had been involved in no misconduct while in jail. In determining the sentence, the Court balanced these facts with the "very serious" drug charges that Amman committed and the defendant’s only prior conviction, a 2006 conviction in Florida for similar charges that also involved Wright.

Wright pleaded guilty in the case but died pending sentencing.

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

The Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Walter John Amman, III, with valuable assistance from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Updated June 11, 2019

Drug Trafficking