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Press Release

New York Man Indicted For Conspiracy To Distribute Heroin And Interstate Prostitution

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 Akbar Muhammad, age 42, of New York, was indicted on May 14, 2019, by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin, and two counts of interstate prostitution.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the indictment alleges that Muhammad, who used the street name “Biz,” participated in the conspiracy to distribute heroin from 2015 to the present, and transported prostitutes from Pennsylvania to New York and from New York to Pennsylvania between October 2016 and 2017.  

The indictment stems from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and Stroud Area Regional Police. 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.

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

The maximum penalty under federal law for the drug conspiracy charge is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The drug charge also carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. The maximum sentence for the prostitution offenses is 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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Updated May 16, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods