Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Luzerne County Police Officer Pleads Guilty To Fentanyl Trafficking And Illegal 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 Todd Houghtlin, age 52, of Duryea, Luzerne County, pleaded guilty on August 2, 2022, before U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani, to the charges of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and illegal possession of a firearm.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Houghtlin admitted to possessing fentanyl for further distribution in Luzerne County in 2020 and to being a user of illegal drugs in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The charges stem from an incident, in July 2020, in which law enforcement investigators conducted a stop of Houghtlin’s vehicle and found him in possession of 50 packets containing fentanyl, as well as a .380 caliber pistol loaded with four rounds of ammunition. Further investigation revealed that Houghtlin purchased fentanyl on multiple occasions which he sold to others.

Houghtlin previously worked as a police office in Pittston Township but had his police certification suspended by the Municipal Police Officer’s Education and Training Commission.  (MPOETC). 

This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Luzerne County Drug Task Force and the Kingston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. O’Hara is prosecuting the case.

Judge Mariani ordered that a presentence report be completed for Houghtlin.  Sentencing has been scheduled for November 1, 2022.

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 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.

The maximum penalty for the drug trafficking offense is twenty years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.  The maximum penalty for the firearms offense is ten years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. 

# # #

Updated August 10, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses