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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 29, 2019

Hazleton Man Guilty Of Methamphetamine And Cocaine Trafficking

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Juan Elvis Monsanto, age 59, of Hazleton, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, pleaded guilty on April 25, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani, to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.   

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Monsanto admitted to committing the crime in February 2016, in Hazleton. Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Hazleton Police executed a search warrant at Monsanto’s residence and seized 453 grams of methamphetamine and 150 grams of cocaine.

Judge Mariani ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed and sentencing will be scheduled at a later date. Monsanto is detained in prison pending sentencing. Monsanto agreed not to oppose deportation and removal from the United States following his prison sentence.

The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Hazleton 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. The Department of Justice 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.        

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offenses is 40 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. There is also a mandatory minimum sentence of five 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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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated April 29, 2019