The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a Kingston resident was indicted by a federal grand jury today for trafficking in illegal drugs and illegally possessing a firearm.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the grand jury alleges that James Featherstone, age 33, distributed cocaine and heroin in Luzerne County during March through September of 2013, and illegally possessed a firearm as a convicted felon and in connection with his drug trafficking activities.
The Indictment charges Featherstone with seven counts of drug trafficking, one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and one count of illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
The charges stem from an investigation by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Pennsylvania State Police, Kingston Police, and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.
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 in prison and a $1 million fine for each of the drug charges; a mandatory five-year prison sentence and possible life sentence if convicted of possessing a firearm in connection with drug trafficking; and a mandatory 15 years in prison and a possible life sentence if convicted of the felon in possession of a firearm charge as an “armed career criminal.”
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.