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Justice News

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Luzerne County Man Charged With Trafficking Heroin And Cocaine

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a criminal Information was filed today in U.S. District Court in Scranton charging a Kingston resident with distributing heroin and cocaine during a four-year time period.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the Information alleges that James Featherstone, age 33, distributed cocaine and heroin in Luzerne County from January 2009 through September 2013.

     A plea agreement was filed along with the Information.

     The charge stems 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.

     Featherstone faces a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

     According to the terms of the plea agreement filed in the case, Featherstone has agreed to plead guilty to the charge, and the government and the defendant will recommend that Featherstone be sentenced to between 163 months and 188 months in prison.

     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’ imprisonment, 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.

Updated April 9, 2015