Skip to main content
Press Release

Lackawanna County Man Pleads Guilty To Drug And Firearm Offense

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 Moises Vargas-Olivio, age 22, of Olyphant, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on March 9, 2023, before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy Mannion, to the charge of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. 

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Vargas-Olivio admitted to possessing a loaded .357 Magnum revolver, a loaded .22 caliber handgun, and an illegal “sawed-off” shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length, in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  The charge stems from an incident on May 22, 2022, in which Lackawanna County Detectives and members of the Olyphant Police Department made a purchase of cocaine from Vargas-Olivio and then obtained a search warrant for Vargas-Olivio’s residence in Olyphant.  A search of the residence resulted in the seizure of an additional amount of cocaine packaged for distribution, approximately $20,000 in U.S. currency, numerous pills, marijuana, two loaded handguns, and a loaded “sawed-off” shotgun.

The charges against the defendant resulted from an investigation conducted by Lackawanna County Detectives, the Olyphant Police Department, and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorneys Robert J. O’Hara and Brian J. Gallagher are prosecuting the case.

This case is also 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Under federal law, for the firearms charges, Vargas-Olivio faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison, a maximum sentence of life, a term of supervised release and a fine. 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.


Updated March 10, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses