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Justice News

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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Harrisburg Man Indicted For Distributing Heroin Resulting In Death

HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Erik Palmer, age 29, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was indicted on December 7, 2016, by a federal grand jury in Harrisburg, for distributing heroin that led to the death of another person, heroin distribution and criminal conspiracy.

According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the indictment alleges that Palmer unlawfully distributed heroin on January 13, 2016, that led to the death of another person whose body was found in her home on January 14, 2016. The cause of death was determined to be acute morphine toxicity. The indictment also alleged that Palmer distributed heroin in March and April 2016 and conspired with individuals known to the grand jury to distribute heroin on those occasions.

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Dauphin County Drug Task Force, and the Lower Paxton Township Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe.

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.]

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 for this offense is a mandatory minimum of 20 year’s imprisonment up to a maximum of life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. 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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Drug Trafficking
Updated December 8, 2016