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Press Release

Luzerne County Man Guilty Of Drug Trafficking And Firearms Offenses

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 Michael Wilson, age 25, of Hanover Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on January 30, 2019, to distributing heroin and unlawfully possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Wilson admitted to distributing heroin in Luzerne County for a five-to-six month time period in 2017, and to accepting firearms as payment for heroin and exchanging firearms with a heroin supplier between December 2016 and September 2017.

Judge Mannion ordered a presentence report to be completed. Sentencing in the case will be scheduled at a later date.

The charges stemmed from an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and Kingston Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The Department of Justice has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.   In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

This case was also 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.

The maximum penalty under federal law is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine for using or possessing a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense. There is also a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment for the firearms offense. Wilson faces up to 20 years in prison for the drug offense. Under federal law, the sentence imposed for the firearms offense must run consecutive to any other sentence. 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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Updated February 5, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods