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Justice News

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hazleton Resident Charged With Trafficking In Heroin, Methamphetamine, And Cocaine, And Illegally Possessing Firearm

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment on May 3, 2016, charging a 55-year-old Dominican national who resided in Hazleton with distributing heroin on two occasions between December 2015 and January 2016, trafficking in cocaine and methamphetamine, and possessing a firearm in connection with drug trafficking.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the superseding indictment alleges that Juan Elvis Monsanto, who used the street name “Elvi,” distributed heroin on December 15, 2015, and January 28, 2016; possessed with intent to distribute cocaine and in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine on February 10, 2016, and possessed a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  

The charges against Monsanto resulted from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Hazleton Police.

Monsanto faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a potential maximum sentence of life in prison, if he is convicted of the charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

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 life 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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Drug Trafficking
Updated May 4, 2016