Retired Pittsburgh firefighter admits his role in 20 year cocaine trafficking conspiracy

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By Terri Hill | February 14, 2019

A retired Pittsburgh firefighter who authorities say was involved in a large scale cocaine trafficking scheme for more than 20 years, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to drug charges.

Walter Amman, 68, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

According to court documents and information revealed in court, Amman and his 77 year-old partner in the conspiracy, Richard Wright, of Banksville, had been purchasing kilogram level amounts of cocaine for more than two decades.

Wright would process the cocaine by packaging it in smaller quantities and converting some into crack. In more recent years, Amman took a more active role in the operation and assisted with the processing, packaging and distribution of the cocaine, prosecutors said.

Authorities made two controlled purchases of cocaine from Amman and then obtained search warrants for his home as well as Wright’s house and his garage.

During the search of Wright’s home police located cocaine prepackaged for sale and color-coded for size; multiple firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition; large amounts of cash; and multiple vehicles registered to Amman and his family.

Authorities found powder cocaine; large amounts of cash; three pistols (including one registered to Amman); and a safe imbedded into the concrete floor, when they searched his garage.

While searching Amman’s residence police found firearms; prepackaged amounts of crack and cocaine in a jacket with Amman’s name on it; keys to a truck (in the jacket); additional cocaine was found in the truck along with $1,000 in cash.

Amman admitted to authorities that between 700 grams and one kilogram of cocaine, as well as the crack cocaine found on his property were his, prosecutors said.

Federal authorities seized Amman’s Daytona Beach home in 2016, alleging in court papers that he paid for the home with money he obtained from selling drugs.

Amman is scheduled to appear for sentencing on June 7. He faces a total sentence of up to 40 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,000,000, or both.

Terri Hill can be contacted at terri.hill@grantstreetnews.com

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