- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A man jailed and awaiting trial on federal weapons and heroin trafficking charges has been indicted on charges he tried to have two witnesses killed in a related money laundering investigation.

Court papers publicized by federal prosecutors on Thursday also identify the man, Price Montgomery, as being present when a witness in a drug case against him was gunned down at her Pittsburgh home last year.

Montgomery is not charged in that woman’s death, and federal prosecutors won’t say why they publicized the allegation in court papers that also outline the newer witness-targeting charges.

The new charges were filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland because they allege Montgomery had conversations with another inmate at a federal lockup near Youngstown, Ohio, where Montgomery remains.

Montgomery’s attorneys in the Pittsburgh-based drug-trafficking case and the newer witness-related charges didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment on Thursday.

In the new indictment filed in Cleveland, Montgomery is charged with two counts of solicitation to commit a crime of violence. Those charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 20 years in prison upon conviction.

According to the indictment, Montgomery tried to solicit or persuade a fellow inmate and another person, neither identified by name, to kill two witnesses during conversations at the Ohio lockup between April and August. Some of those conversations were recorded by the inmate wearing a hidden microphone, the court papers said.

As part of the probable cause, federal prosecutors also mention the Aug. 22, 2014, shooting of Tina Crawford.

Crawford was gunned down as she prepared to leave home for meetings with her attorney and federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh about an ongoing investigation involving Montgomery.

Two gunmen fired 29 shots at Crawford and her mother, who was preparing to drive her to the meetings, according to a probable cause affidavit filed against Montgomery by an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Crawford’s mother survived, but Crawford, who was shot 10 times, died, the affidavit said.

Although Montgomery is not charged with killing Crawford - nobody has been - that information was included in the ATF affidavit because he shared similar details about the Crawford shooting with the Ohio inmate he tried to solicit to kill the other witnesses, authorities said.

Among other things, Montgomery told the inmate he dropped his cellphone during the shooting, authorities said. The affidavit indicates investigators have traced the phone to Montgomery and found his DNA on it.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Pittsburgh, which is prosecuting both cases against Montgomery, said the investigation of Crawford’s shooting was continuing.

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