The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a Hazleton resident was indicted by a federal grand jury in Scranton on January 28, 2014 for participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed heroin and cocaine during July through October of 2013.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the grand jury alleges that Willy Perez, age 36, conspired with others to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine in the Hazleton and Scranton areas during a four-month time period.
The Indictment alleges that Perez and his co-conspirators arranged to obtain heroin and cocaine in New York City and distributed the drugs in the Hazleton and Scranton areas of northeastern Pennsylvania. The indictment alleges that Perez and his associates communicated with each other and drug customers by cell phones. Perez is also charged with possessing heroin with the intent to distribute it on October 24, 2013.
The charges stem from an investigation by special agents and task force officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Scranton Police, and detectives from the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office.
If the defendant is convicted of the charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each 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.
In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 20 years’ 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.