PITTSBURGH - A resident of Whitehall, PA, pleaded guilty to charges of violating federal firearms and explosives laws, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.
Kurt Cofano, 32, pleaded guilty to three counts before United States District Judge William S. Stickman IV.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on July 9 and July 10, 2020, Cofano was in possession of unregistered destructive devices. The court was also advised that from May 2020 through July 2020, Cofano knowingly and unlawfully and without registering and obtaining approval made destructive devices.
Specifically, the court was advised that on July 9, 2020, Cofano was driving his vehicle, observed a Mt. Lebanon police car, and waved the police car over to him. When police approached Cofano’s vehicle, they observed weapons in plain view. Cofano stated that he had M80 type devices in his vehicle, as well as firearms. Local police sought and obtained a search warrant for the vehicle. They recovered, among other things, components for making destructive devices such as detonators, triggers, and fuses; short-barreled long guns; ammunition; and marijuana. Federal search warrants were sought and obtained for Cofano’s residence, wherein 14 improvised grenades and nine devices labeled “M101” as well as components for making destructive devices; and marijuana and drug paraphernalia were recovered.
Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for Dec. 8, 2021. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine of not more than $250,000, a term of supervised release of not more than three years, or a combination thereof at each count. 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.
Pending sentencing, the court ordered Cofano remain detained.
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 prosecution of Kurt Cofano. 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.