Seven Luzerne County Residents Charged With Participating In A “Bath Salts” Conspiracy
SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced that a federal grand jury in Scranton indicted seven people on August 9, 2016, for participating in a conspiracy to sell the substance alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (a-pvp), commonly referred to as “bath salts.” The indictment was unsealed today following the arrests of defendants.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the indictment alleges that the defendants obtained the bath salts from suppliers in China and distributed it to customers in Luzerne County and elsewhere during March 2014 to January 2016. The grand jury also alleges that the conspirators used violence, intimidation, and possessed firearms in furtherance of the drug trafficking activities.
Those charged in the drug conspiracy are:
--William Wylie, age 47, of Wilkes-Barre;
--Jason Randazzo, age 43, of Mountain Top;
--Daniel Fitzgibbon a/k/a “Diz,” age 46, of Wilkes-Barre;
--Robert Benussi III, age 25, of Kingston;
--Kerry Wylie, age 24, of Wilkes-Barre;
--Kevin Peterson, age 32, of West Pittston;
--David Popish, age 37, of Pittston.
William Wylie, Kerry Wylie and Jason Randazzo are also charged with conspiracy to import a-pvp from China, and an attempt to possess with intent to distribute a-pvp on December 21, 2015.
William Wylie is further charged with possessing a firearm in connection with drug trafficking, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
The charges against the defendants resulted from an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Pennsylvania State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the cases.
William Wylie faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a potential maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the firearms related to drug trafficking charge, up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the felon in possession of a firearm charge, and up to 20 years in prison on each of the conspiracy to distribute and import a-pvp counts.
Kerry Wylie and Jason Randazzo each face up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the conspiracy to import and distribute a-pvp counts. The remaining defendants face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the conspiracy to distribute a-pvp count.
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.
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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