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Justice News

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Scranton Man Charged With Drug Distributions Resulting In Two Deaths And Serious Bodily Injury To A Third Victim

SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Josthan Cardona, age 26, of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was indicted on February 7, 2017, by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to distribute heroin and distribution of heroin and fentanyl, resulting in two deaths and serious bodily injury to another victim.


According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the five-count indictment alleges that beginning in or about September 2015 and continuing through December 2015, Cardona conspired with others to distribute heroin in Lackawanna County. The indictment also alleges that Cardona distributed heroin and fentanyl on December 7, 2015 and December 12, 2015, resulting in the death of two individuals and distributed heroin and fentanyl on December 12, 2015, to a third individual who overdosed as a result of the heroin causing serious bodily injury.


The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration – Scranton Office, the Dunmore and Scranton Police Departments, and the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski is prosecuting the case.


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.


Indictments 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.


Drug distributions resulting in death or severe bodily injury require a 20 year minimum-mandatory sentence. The maximum penalty under federal law for the crimes charged in the indictment is life in prison, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. 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
Updated February 8, 2017