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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Monroe County Man Guilty Of Heroin Trafficking

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Akbar Muhammad, age 42, who resided in New York City and East Stroudsburg, pleaded guilty on January 7, 2019, before Senior U.S. District Court Judge James M. Munley, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Muhammad admitted to participating in the conspiracy during 2015 through early 2019. Muhammad admitted that he agreed with others to obtain heroin from suppliers in New Jersey and New York, and distribute the drug to associates and customers in Monroe County. A kilogram of heroin is approximately equivalent to 40,000 retail bags of heroin.

Muhammad was indicted by a grand jury in May 2019, as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and Stroud Area Regional Police.

Judge Munley ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed. Sentencing is scheduled for April 8, 2020. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa 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 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.

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 for this offenses is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. There is also a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. 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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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated January 8, 2020