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Press Release

Shaler Man Pleads Guilty to Dealing Heroin

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

PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Shaler, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal narcotics trafficking laws, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

James Crivella, 29, 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, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in Allegheny, Westmoreland, Erie, Fayette, and Washington Counties.

Beginning in August of 2020 and continuing through November 2020, the Court was further informed, that 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. Crivella was intercepted over telephones operated by co-defendant Jeffrey Kushik.
During intercepted communications, investigators determined that “little Jimmy Crivella”, as he was called by Kushik, was a lower-level heroin dealer for Kushik in Shaler Township, meeting Kushik’s drug customers to conduct the hand-to-hand transaction.

Crivella, at the hearing, accepted responsibility for the sale of and/or could otherwise foresee the possession/distribution of between 40-60 grams of heroin.

Judge Colville scheduled sentencing for July 14, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of not more than $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.

Updated March 4, 2022

Drug Trafficking