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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Suburban Pittsburgh Man Charged with Violating Federal Firearms and Explosives Laws

PITTSBURGH – A suburban Pittsburgh man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on charges of violating federal firearms and explosives laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

The five-count Indictment, returned on July 14, named Kurt Cofano, 32, of Whitehall, Pennsylvania, as the sole defendant.

According to the Indictment, on July 9 and July 10, 2020, Cofano was found to be in possession of unregistered destructive devices. Also, the Indictment alleges that on those same dates, Cofano, an unlawful user of a controlled substance, was in possession of a firearm. Federal law prohibits the possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance. The Indictment further alleges that from May 2020 through July 2020, Cofano knowingly and unlawfully and without registering and obtaining approval made destructive devices.

"Kurt Cofano stands accused of illegally possessing multiple completed destructive devices, the components for making additional destructive devices, and a dozen firearms all in violation of federal law," said U.S. Attorney Brady. "I commend the excellent work of the investigators and the prowess of our prosecutors to take this case from incident to indictment in just five days. In serious cases like this, justice will be certain and swift."

"We are committed to keeping our communities safe," said acting Special Agent in Charge John Schmidt, ATF Philadelphia Field Division. "This investigation is a perfect demonstration of how ATF combats violent crime by partnering with our local, state and federal counterparts in this case the Whitehall and Mt. Lebanon Police Departments, the Allegheny County and Pittsburgh Police Bomb Squads and the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

"This investigation successfully disrupted a very real threat," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Christman. "A mix of unstable, homemade manufactured explosives, large amounts of ammo and a person who has already made threats to inflict harm is an extremely dangerous combination. The FBI will always rally together with the ATF and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to take anyone who presents a threat to our community off our streets."

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 50 years in prison, a fine of not more than $750,000, a term of supervised release of not more than three years, or a combination thereof. 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 Cindy K. Chung and Jonathan D. Lusty are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case. The Mt. Lebanon Police Department, the Whitehall Police Department, the Allegheny County Police Department and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police provided substantial assistance with the investigation.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated July 15, 2020