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Press Release

Berks County Man Sentenced To Life Imprisonment Plus 5 Years For Drug Distribution Resulting In Death And Serious Bodily Injury And Possession Of A Firearm

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

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on October 27, 2023, Miguel Eduardo Rosario, age 37, of Reading, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to life imprisonment by United States District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani for the distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death and serious bodily injury, followed by a consecutive term of five years’ imprisonment for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. 

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Rosario was found guilty of multiple federal crimes on February 2, 2023, following a seven-day jury trial before Judge Mariani.  The evidence showed that Rosario was a large-scale drug dealer operating out of Reading.  While on state parole for a prior drug conviction, Rosario continued to sell fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, and Xanax in the Berks and Schuylkill County areas between January 2017 and November 2019.  Rosario was found guilty on all counts of the indictment, including counts relating to an individual who first overdosed from heroin and fentanyl distributed to him by Rosario, and then suffered death approximately six months later from heroin and fentanyl again distributed to him by Rosario.  Rosario was also convicted of firearm charges related to his distribution of methamphetamine in exchange for firearms.

During the seven-day trial, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented the testimony from approximately 35 witnesses, including expert witness testimony from a forensic pathologist, multiple forensic toxicologists, a medical toxicologist, and a forensic cell phone examiner. 

The life sentence imposed by Judge Mariani was mandated pursuant to federal law for defendants found guilty of distributing a controlled substance resulting in death, after having previously been convicted of a felony drug offense.  Rosario’s criminal history involved multiple felony drug offenses, which also rendered him a career offender under federal law.  However, Judge Mariani stated that even without the mandatory sentence, he would have sentenced Rosario to a term of life imprisonment.  The five-year term of imprisonment was also mandated pursuant to federal law to run consecutive to the drug trafficking sentence.

Rosario was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,801.00 representing the funeral costs associated with the decedent. 

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Scranton, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Olshefski and Brian Gallagher prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin and other opioids. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin and opioid traffickers operating in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and is part of a coordinated effort among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit heroin related offenses.

 This case is also 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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Updated October 31, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking