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Justice News

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

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Schuylkill County Woman Guilty Of Methamphetamine Trafficking Conspiracy

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Laverne Schaeffer, age 46, of Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on October 30, 2018 before U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Schaeffer admitted to conspiring with her husband, Ernest Schaeffer and others to distribute methamphetamine to customers in the Schuylkill County area. Schaeffer committed the offense between July 2016 and May 24, 2017, in Schuylkill County and elsewhere.

Schaeffer was indicted by a grand jury along with three other persons in August 2017. Schaeffer’s husband Ernest previously pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

As part of a plea agreement, Schaeffer agreed to forfeit dozens of acres of real estate in Schuylkill County—property that Schaeffer and her husband used to store and distribute methamphetamine.

Judge Mariani ordered a presentence report to be completed and sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and local police from Schuylkill County. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa 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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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 is 40 years in prison, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The charge also carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. 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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Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated November 1, 2018