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Press Release

Hazleton Resident Charged With Distributing 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 that on February 9, 2016, a federal grand jury in Scranton indicted a 55-year-old Dominican national who resides in Hazleton for distributing heroin on two occasions between December 2015 and January 2016.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the two-count indictment alleges that Juan Elvis Monsanto, who used the street name “Elvi,” distributed heroin on December 15, 2015, and January 28, 2016.  

The indictment was unsealed yesterday following Monsanto’s arrest. He was arraigned late yesterday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in Scranton and was ordered to be detained in prison pending trial in the case.

The charges against Monsanto resulted from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Hazleton Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

Monsanto faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge.

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.

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 40 years in prison, 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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Updated February 11, 2016

Drug Trafficking