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Press Release

Schuylkill County Man Pleads Guilty To Methamphetamine And Fentanyl Trafficking

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 John Bartel, age 63, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on April 6, 2023, before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy Mannion, to the charge of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Bartel admitted to possessing methamphetamine and fentanyl for further distribution.  The charge stems from an investigation in which the Pennsylvania State Police made a traffic stop of a vehicle Bartel was driving on August 3, 2022, in Pottsville, and seized approximately 55 grams of methamphetamine, 1,371 packets of fentanyl and $1,974 in U.S. currency.  Bartel was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

The charge against the defendant resulted from an investigation conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. O’Hara 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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.

The maximum sentence under federal law is up to twenty years in prison, a term of supervised release and a fine.  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.


Updated April 10, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking