You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Luzerne County Man Indicted For Drug Trafficking And Firearms Offenses

SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that William Heck, age 40, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was indicted on April 6, 2021, by a federal grand jury for drug trafficking and firearms offenses.

According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the indictment alleges that on October 2, 2020, Heck possessed a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, was a convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, and possessed more than 40 grams of methamphetamine and an additional amount of fentanyl for distribution in Luzerne County.  

The case was investigated by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and the Pennsylvania State Police.  Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. O’Hara is prosecuting the case.

This case is 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 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 enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce crime.

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 guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Under federal law, Heck faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison for the drug trafficking charge, up to a maximum sentence of life in prison, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. For the firearms charges, Heck faces an additional mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, which must run consecutive to any other sentence, a maximum sentence of life, a term of supervised release 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.

# # #

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Updated April 7, 2021