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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Shaler Man Admits He Conspired to Distribute Cocaine

PITTSBURGH, PA - A Shaler Township resident pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal narcotics trafficking laws, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

David Pietropaolo, 23, of Scott Avenue in Glenshaw, PA pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Robert J. Colville.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, conducted a long-term investigation into drug-trafficking activity occurring in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Law enforcement identified several individuals, suspected at the time, of illegally distributing controlled substances, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in Allegheny, Westmoreland, Erie, Fayette, and Washington Counties.

Beginning in August of 2020 and continuing through November 2020, the FBI conducted a federal Title III investigation, which resulted in the interception of thousands of wire and electronic communications over a total of ten telephones. Pietropaolo was intercepted over co-defendant, Anthony Peluso’s cellular telephones, arranging to purchase cocaine from Peluso, his supplier.

In conjunction with his guilty plea, Pietropaolo admitted to conspiring to distribute and distributing cocaine from January to November of 2020. Pietropaolo regularly obtained ounce quantities of cocaine from Peluso that he then redistributed. For example, on September 19, 2020, Pietropaolo arranged to purchase, and did purchase, four ounces of cocaine from Peluso for $3,800. Later that day, Pietropoalo exchanged several communications with Peluso regarding the quality of that cocaine, complaining that the quality was sub-par.

Judge Colville scheduled sentencing for July 13, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

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

The Federal Bureau of Investigation led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the United States Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics

Investigations. Other assisting agencies include the Allegheny County Police Department Homicide, Baldwin Police Department, Brentwood Police Department, McKees Rocks Police Department, Stowe Township Police Department and West Deer Township Police Department.

This prosecution is a result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States. OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated March 17, 2021