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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 19, 2017

Schuylkill County Man Charged With Drug And Gun Offenses

SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Ernest Schaeffer, age 40, of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, was indicted on January 17, 2017, by a federal grand jury for methamphetamine trafficking and possessing firearms in connection with drug trafficking.

 

According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the indictment alleges that Schaeffer conspired with others to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine during June through October of 2016. Schaeffer is also charged with three counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possessing four firearms in connection with drug trafficking.

 

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of real property owned by Schaeffer.

 

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and Shenandoah Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa 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.

 

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 and the gun charge is life in prison, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The drug conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and the gun charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. 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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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated January 19, 2017