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Press Release

Luzerne County Man Convicted Of Drug Distribution Resulting In Death Of Pregnant Woman And Unborn Fetus

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 Luis Antonio Zayas, age 48, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was convicted on June 21, 2019, for drug distribution resulting in death after a four-day trial before United States District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the jury returned with the guilty verdict in less than an hour of deliberation.  The evidence showed that Zayas sold what he believed to be heroin to the victim on July 6, 2016.  In reality, the drug was 100 percent fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid painkiller.  The victim, who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, overdosed and died.  Toxicology results showed that both the mother and unborn fetus died from lethal levels of fentanyl in their systems.  Zayas arranged the drug deal with the victim via text messages and proclaimed at one point that he had “damm good shit….good enough to get way higher than intended lol.” 

As a result of the conviction, Zayas faces up to life imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Scranton, and the Pennsylvania State Police.  Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Olshefski and Jenny Roberts prosecuted 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 to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit heroin related offenses.

his 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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.


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Updated June 24, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods