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Press Release

Guatemalan National Charged With Transporting More Than A Kilogram Of Heroin

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 today that Cesar Moscoso-Sagastume, age 37, of Guatemala, was indicted on July 10, 2018, by a federal grand jury for conspiring with others to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin between November 2017 and the present in Luzerne County.  The indictment was unsealed today following Moscoso-Sagastume’s arraignment before United States Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick. Moscos-Sagastume was detained pending trial.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the indictment alleges that Moscoso-Sagastume and his co-conspirators obtained heroin from suppliers in Mexico and transported the heroin from Chicago to New York City. The defendant is also charged with possessing more than a kilogram of heroin with the intent to distribute it on February 13, 2018, in Luzerne County.

The charges stem from an investigation by special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Pennsylvania State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions 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.

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

The maximum penalty under federal law is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine for each offense. Each charge also carries 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 July 18, 2018

Project Safe Neighborhoods