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Press Release

Luzerne County Man Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison For Role In Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

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 a Luzerne County man was sentenced today by Senior U.S. District Court Judge James M. Munley in Scranton, to 14 years in prison for participating in a heroin trafficking conspiracy that operated in Luzerne County during February through October 2014.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the defendant, Desmond Mercer, age 28, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with others from Luzerne County, New Jersey, and Alabama, to distribute heroin to customers in the Luzerne County area. Mercer in his plea acknowledged distributing more than 700 grams of heroin and playing a leadership role in the conspiracy. During part of the conspiracy, Mercer ran the drug operation while an inmate at the Luzerne County Prison.

Mercer was indicted by a federal grand jury in Scranton in October 2014, as a result of an investigation by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Kingston Police, Plymouth Police and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa prosecuted the case.

All six defendants charged in the conspiracy have pleaded guilty. Co-defendant Shaliek Stroman, another Luzerne County resident, was sentenced by Judge Munley to more than 12 years in prison for his role in the conspiracy. New Jersey resident Antuan Jamison was sentenced to five years in prison. Corey Wortham, from Alabama, who played a minor role in the conspiracy, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Co-defendants Shaquan Murphy and Megan Fox are awaiting sentencing in the case.

Judge Munley also ordered Mercer to serve three years on supervised release following his prison sentence. Mercer was also ordered to forfeit more than $7000 in cash and a vehicle seized by agents during the investigation.

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.


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Updated March 2, 2016

Drug Trafficking