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Press Release

Armed Career Criminal Convicted Of Drug Trafficking And Firearms Offenses

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 that James Larnerd, age 47, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was convicted yesterday by a federal jury for possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; for being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm; and maintaining a drug involved premises, after a three-day trial held before United States District Court Judge Jennifer Wilson. Larnerd faces a potential 15 year mandatory minimum sentence as a result of three prior convictions for serious drug offenses.

According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the jury returned the guilty verdict after approximately two hours of deliberation.  The evidence at trial showed that during May of 2019, the North Cornwall Township Police received information that Larnerd was selling drugs and possessed firearms at his residence in Lebanon County. Based on that information, the North Cornwall Police applied for and obtained a search warrant for Larnerd’s residence in June 2019.

During execution of the warrant, the police found a Highpoint 9mm C9 Luger handgun in Larnerd’s second floor bedroom, and a Highpoint Model CF380 ACP handgun in a downstairs closet. There were also small amounts of marijuana and methamphetamine scattered about the house. Witnesses testified that Larnerd sold them methamphetamine from the residence and possessed the firearms.

The case was investigated by the North Cornwall Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Johnny Baer and Christian Haugsby are prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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 for this offense is a term of 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. Larnerd’s conviction for illegal firearm possession carries a 15-year mandatory sentence.


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Updated March 25, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses