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Press Release

14 Charged In Seven County Cocaine And Methamphetamine Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a federal Grand Jury in Scranton has indicted 14 Central Pennsylvania men charging them with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine. Thirteen of the 14 defendants were taken into custody today.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, a coordinated investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation led to the indictment on April 26, 2016, which was made public today after the arrests of the defendants.  According to the indictment, the conspiracy extended over 14 months from December 2014 to April 2016.  The drug activity allegedly took place in Cumberland, Dauphin, York, Snyder, Northumberland, Berks and Perry Counties.

The names, ages, and residences of the defendants are listed below:


Phillip Bennett, age 43, Elizabethtown;

Michael Finsterbush, age 50, Lemoyne;

Marcie Herman, age 47, Harrisburg;

Michael Herman, age 49, Harrisburg;

Arthur Houze, age 49, Harrisburg;

Douglas Lesniak, age 46, Steelton;

John Nace, age 41, York;

Joseph Newton, age 47, Selinsgrove;

Scott Ohler, age 50, Harrisburg;

Juan Salcido, age 33, Reading;

Michael Sanders, age 43, Selinsgrove;

Justin Spiegle, age 41, Liverpool;

Timothy Watson, age 42, Lemoyne; and

Eric West, age 29, Shermans Dale.


The indictment also seeks forfeiture of approximately $156,574 from defendant Scott Ohler.

Prosecution has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christy Fawcett and Chelsea Schinnour.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty under federal law is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated April 27, 2016

Drug Trafficking