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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chicago Resident Charged With Interstate Travel To Facilitate Drug Trafficking

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a criminal Information was filed today charging a Chicago resident with traveling in interstate commerce to promote and facilitate drug trafficking.

     According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the Information alleges that Maria Pina, age 44, a Mexican national who resided in Chicago, Illinois, at the time of her arrest, traveled from Illinois to Pennsylvania on February 11 and 12 of this year to further the efforts of a drug trafficking conspiracy operating in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

     The charge stems from an investigation by special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Pennsylvania State Police, and Berks County Detectives.

     Pina faces a potential maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if she is convicted of the charge.

     The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.

     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 guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     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.

Updated April 16, 2015