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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pike County Woman Indicted For Heroin Distribution Resulting In Death

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has announced that yesterday a federal grand jury in Scranton indicted a Pike County woman charging her with drug distribution resulting in death.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the Indictment alleges that between September 3, 2015 and September 4, 2015, Brittany Ann Banscher, age 21, of Hawley, Pennsylvania, knowingly and intentionally possessed with intent to distribute and distributed heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance, resulting in the death of another person.  Banscher is also charged in a separate count with possession with intent to distribute heroin on or about September 21, 2015.

The charges stem from a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Scranton Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police.  Prosecution is assigned to United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski.

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.

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.  In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute for drug distribution resulting in death is life imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine.  The maximum penalty for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance is 20 years’ 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 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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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated August 31, 2016