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Press Release

Effort Man Pleads Guilty To Distributing Fentanyl Resulting In Death

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 Matthew Luce, a/k/a “Luck,” age 36, of Effort, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion to distributing fentanyl resulting in death.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Luce admitted that on February 6, 2021, he distributed ten bags of fentanyl, a Schedule II Controlled Substance, in Effort, Pennsylvania, to a New Jersey man who later used the drugs and was found dead in his home the next morning.  The victim’s cause of death was determined to be a fentanyl overdose caused by the drugs distributed by Luce.       

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office (NJ), the Clinton Police Department (NJ), the Stroud Area Regional Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police.  Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Buchanan 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 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.

This case was 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.

Sentencing is not currently scheduled.  Luce faces a mandatory sentence of 20 years imprisonment.  The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.

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Updated October 14, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking