Skip to main content
Press Release

Luzerne County Man Pleads Guilty To Fentanyl Trafficking

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 today that Lee Crawford, age 61, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on August 28, 2023, before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion, to the charge of conspiracy to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl and the charge of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Crawford admitted to conspiring with a co-defendant, John Williams, age 43, of Kingston, and with others, to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl in the Luzerne County area between July 2020 and February 2021.  Investigators made several purchases of fentanyl from Crawford and then obtained a search warrant for Crawford’s residence in Wilkes-Barre, where an additional amount of fentanyl was seized.  Crawford also admitted to a separate charge of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl resulting from the search of his residence.

Williams previously pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl and is awaiting sentencing.

The charges against the defendants resulted from an investigation conducted by the Kingston Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the Luzerne County Drug Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. O’Hara is prosecuting the case.

This case is 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

This case was also brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin and fentanyl.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin and fentanyl 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 and fentanyl related offenses.

Under federal law, Crawford faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison, up to a maximum sentence of life in prison, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. 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.


Updated August 29, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking