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Press Release

California Man Guilty Of Heroin Trafficking

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 Saul Carrasco, age 35, of Simi Valley, California, pleaded guilty on December 3, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Carrasco admitted to participating in the conspiracy during July through November 2018. Carrasco also admitted that he agreed with others to transport the heroin from California to Carbon County, Pennsylvania. A kilogram of heroin is approximately equivalent to 40,000 retail bags of heroin.

Judge Mannion ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

Carrasco was indicted by a grand jury in November 2018, as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Illinois State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

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 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.

This case was also brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin 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.

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offenses is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. There is also a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. 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 December 4, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods