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Press Release

Pike County Woman Guilty Of Heroin Distribution 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 today that Brittany Ann Banscher, age 21, of Hawley, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on December 19, 2016, before United States District Court Judge James M. Munley in Scranton, to a charge of drug distribution resulting in death.

According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Banscher admitted to knowingly and intentionally distributing heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance, which resulted in the death of another.  Banscher was previously indicted by a federal grand jury in Scranton on August 30, 2016.  Banscher faces a minimum mandatory 20-year sentence as a result of her guilty plea.

The charges stem from a joint investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Scranton Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police.  Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski is prosecuting the case.

This case 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.

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 this offense is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $1,000,000 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.


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Updated December 20, 2016

Drug Trafficking