Criminal Justice News

Friday, March 30, 2018

Duquesne Man Charged with Illegally Possessing a Firearm and Distributing Heroin and Fentanyl Analogues


PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Duquesne, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh and charged with violations of federal narcotics and firearms laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

The three-count indictment, returned on March 21 and unsealed today, named Marquis Brown, age 29, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment, on or about October 3, 2017, Marquis Brown possessed with the intent to distribute quantities of heroin, para-fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl, and methoxyacetyl fentanyl. On the same date, Brown is also charged with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, and possession of that firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Federal law prohibits a felon from possessing a firearm.

For the drug charges, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of 30 years in prison, a fine of $2,000,000, or both. Brown also faces a maximum total sentence on the firearms charges of not less than five years and up to life in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Timothy M. Lanni is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation – Western District of Pennsylvania Opioid Task Force conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. This Task Force is comprised of FBI Special Agents and state and local Task Force Officers, including officers from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department, Allegheny County Police, Port Authority Police, Munhall Police Department, West Mifflin Police Department, and Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

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

KC Paramedic Indicted for Stealing Fentanyl, Morphine from Ambulances


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department paramedic has been indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing fentanyl and morphine from ambulances and replacing fentanyl with another substance.

Michael L. Fostich, 36, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged in a two-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Fostich’s arrest and initial court appearance.

Fostich is charged with one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud (related to the theft of fentanyl and morphine) and one count of tampering with a consumer product (related to the replacement of fentanyl with another substance).

Fostich was employed at the Kansas City Fire Department (KCFD) as a paramedic from August 2014 to Dec. 11, 2016. Fostich had access to fentanyl and morphine, which were stored in sealed narcotics boxes and locked in safes on KCFD ambulances. Each sealed narcotics box contained two vials of fentanyl, each containing 100 micrograms of liquid fentanyl, two syringes of morphine, each containing 10 milligrams of liquid morphine, and two vials containing 5 milligrams of liquid midazolam. As a paramedic, Fostich was able to unlock the electronic safe and open the sealed narcotics boxes in order to administer controlled substances to patients, if necessary.

The federal indictment alleges that Fostich engaged in a scheme from Jan. 1, 2016, through Dec. 11, 2016, to fraudulently obtain fentanyl and morphine. As part of the scheme, Fostich allegedly prepared patient care records and state reporting forms that contained misrepresentations regarding his use of fentanyl and morphine.

According to the indictment, Fostich reported he was responsible for the use of 806 doses of fentanyl, which accounted for approximately 39 percent of all of the KCFD’s total reported use during that period of time. Fostich also reported he was responsible for the use of 636 doses of morphine, which accounted for approximately 63 percent of all of the KCFD’s total reported use of morphine during that period of time.

The federal indictment also alleges that Fostich tampered with a container of fentanyl on Dec. 11, 2016. Fostich removed fentanyl from the vials contained in a KCFD narcotics box and replaced them with another solution in the vials, the indictment says, with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death or bodily injury. Fostich allegedly placed the vials back in the narcotics box, attempted to reseal the narcotics box, and then placed the narcotics box back in a safe located on a KCFD ambulance.

The charges contained in this indictment are accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jess E. Michaelsen and Jeffrey Q. McCarther. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the FBI and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Verona Man Charged with Multiple Counts of Violating Child Exploitation Laws


PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on charges of attempted production, production, distribution and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of minors, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

The eight-count indictment, returned on March 21, named John O’Donnell, age 50, of Verona, Pennsylvania, as the sole defendant. O’Donnell was arrested on Friday and today was ordered to be detained pending trial.

According to the indictment, on or about February 28, 2015, March 4, 2015, March 9, 2015, March 24, 2015, April 3, 2015 and April 14, 2015, O’Donnell employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing or attempting to produce a visual depiction of the sexual exploitation of the minor. The indictment also alleges that on or about October 25, 2017, O’Donnell knowingly distributed videos and images in computer graphic files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, some of whom had not yet attained 12 years of age. The indictment further alleges that on or about December 20, 2017, O’Donnell knowingly possessed videos and images in computer graphic files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, some of whom had not yet attained 12 years of age.

The law provides for a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum total sentence of 210 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania Attorney’s General Office, the Allegheny County Police Department and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

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