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Press Release

Reading Man Linked To International Drug Conspiracy Sentenced To 13 Years In Prison

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 Juan Mendez-Lazaro, age 37, of Reading, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on September 15, 2017, to serve 13 years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani, for his role in a drug conspiracy that was responsible for distributing large quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs during a four-year time period in Monroe, Carbon, Montgomery, and Berks Counties in Pennsylvania.


According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the drug ring had sources of supply in Mexico and associates in Chicago who transported the drugs to sub-distributors in Pennsylvania.


Mendez-Lazaro previously admitted to distributing more than one kilogram of heroin (which is equivalent to 40,000 retail bags of heroin), more than five kilograms of cocaine, and more than 50 grams of methamphetamine during 2012 through 2014.


Mendez-Lazaro was indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2014, as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Homeland Security Investigations, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Berks County Detectives and Montgomery County Detectives. He was one of 12 people, including four Chicago-based associates, charged in the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa prosecuted the case.


Judge Mariani also ordered the defendant to serve five years on supervised release following his prison sentence.


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.

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Updated September 19, 2017

Drug Trafficking