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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Monroe County Man Pleads Guilty To Participating In Drug Conspiracy

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 24-year-old Tobyhanna Township man pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito, Jr. in Wilkes-Barre, to participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine in Monroe and Wayne Counties between 2011 and 2014.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the defendant, Brandon Cruz, admitted to distributing heroin and cocaine on several occasions between 2011 and 2014, in drug transactions that were arranged by other members of his family. Three other Cruz family members—Tiffanyann Cruz, Rubie Cruz, and Carlos Cruz—were charged in the case. Tiffanyann Cruz previously entered a guilty plea to participating in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing. Rubie Cruz and Carlos Cruz are awaiting trial.

Brandon Cruz was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2014, as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

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

In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 20 years imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $1 million 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.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Richard P. Conaboy will schedule sentencing at a later date.

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Updated April 14, 2015