SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Jose Espinosa, age 48, of New York, New York, was indicted on April 25, 2017, by a federal grand jury on heroin trafficking and firearms offenses.
According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the indictment alleges that Espinosa conspired to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute at least 100 grams of heroin (approximately 4,000 doses) in the Middle District of Pennsylvania from June 1, 2012 through August 31, 2015. Espinosa is also charged with aiding and abetting the distribution of heroin on August 31, 2015.
In addition to the heroin trafficking charges, Espinosa was indicted for possessing a firearm in furtherance of his trafficking activities, and with aiding and abetting the use and carrying of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking activities. Espinosa was further charged with aiding and abetting the transport of a stolen firearm from Pennsylvania to New York.
The matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Pennsylvania State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Phillip J. Caraballo is prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of the Violent Crime Reduction Partnership (“VCRP”), a district wide initiative to combat the spread of violent crime in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the VCRP consists of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies whose mission is to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit violent crimes with firearms.
This case also 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 to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit heroin related offenses.
Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
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.
The maximum penalties under federal law for the charges are life imprisonment. The heroin conspiracy charge and firearms possession charge each carry a five-year mandatory minimum sentence of 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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