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Press Release

Monroe County Woman Sentenced To 20 Years’ Imprisonment For Distributing Controlled Substances Resulting In Death

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 Susan Melissa Nickas, age 47, of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 240 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion following her conviction after trial for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl within the Middle District of Pennsylvania, resulting in the death of a person.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Nickas was engaged in a conspiracy with Jeremy Johnson, also of Stroudsburg, to obtain and distribute controlled substances, heroin and fentanyl, for the time beginning January 2020 through March 2021.  During the conspiracy, a delivery of heroin and fentanyl made in the course of the scheme resulted in the death of another person.  Both defendants were also found guilty of aiding and abetting each other in the December 10, 2020, distribution of heroin and fentanyl, resulting in that death.

Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented the testimony of multiple witnesses during trial, including Dr. Michael Coyer, a Forensic Toxicologist, who opined that the death of a person resulted from the use of heroin and fentanyl   Prosecutors also presented the testimony of a PSP Forensic Chemist, who analyzed drugs found at the scene of the death.  Additional testimony was provided by officers and detectives from the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office; the Pennsylvania State Police; the Pocono Township Police Department, the FBI – Scranton Office; and an FBI special agent from the Pittsburgh Office.

Johnson was previously sentenced by Judge Mannion to 300 months in prison for his role in the crimes.

The charges resulted from a joint investigation involving the FBI in Scranton, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Olshefski and Sean Camoni prosecuted the case.

Nickas was also ordered to serve a three-year term of supervised release upon her release from federal custody.

This case was 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 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.

This case is also 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.

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Updated February 7, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking