News and Press Releases

Four Charged in Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2013

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - On Aug. 13, 2013, four residents of Johnstown, Pa., were indicted by a federal grand jury in Johnstown on charges of violating federal narcotics and firearms laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The seven-count indictment named as defendants the following individuals:

Fred Claycomb, Jr., 50;
Matthew John Claycomb, 21;
Ronald Paul Copeland, 44; and
Nichelle Seeley, 27.

According to the indictment presented to the court, from Jan.1, 2013, through Jan. 25, 2013, Fred Claycomb, Jr., Matthew John Claycomb, Copeland and Seeley conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute less than 100 grams of heroin.

In addition, on Jan. 17, Jan. 18 and Jan. 25, 2013, Fred Claycomb, Jr., Matthew John Claycomb, Copeland and Seeley distributed less than 100 grams of heroin on each of these occasions, and on Jan. 25, 2013, Seeley possessed with the intent to distribute less than 100 grams of heroin.

On Jan.25 2013, Matthew John Claycomb was found in possession of a Harrington and Richardson, Model 158, 410 gauge shotgun. On Mar. 1, 2011, Claycomb was convicted in Cambria County, Pa., of firearms not to be carried without a license, which is a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. Federal law prohibits persons who have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year from possessing firearms.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence for Fred Claycomb, Jr. of 60 years in prison, a fine of $3,000,000, or both; for Matthew John Claycomb, 70 years in prison, a fine of $3,250,000, or both; for Copeland, 40 years in prison, a fine of $2,000,000, or both; and for Seeley, 60 years in prison, a fine of $3,000,000, 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 defendants.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie L. Haines is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Laurel Highlands Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cambria County Drug Task Force conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

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

According to Mr. Hickton, the case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent, deter and prosecute gun crime.

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