SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Juan Roman-Polanco, age 31, of Avoca, Pennsylvania, Myrna Echevarria-Jiminez, age 44, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Luis Enrique Martinez Ortiz, age 25, Nathaniel Murphy, age 41, both of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and two others were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 28, 2017, on drug trafficking charges. Roman-Polanco was also charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. On April 10, 2017, the indictment was unsealed following the arrests of the defendants.
Two of the individuals charged remain at large and are considered fugitives. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Drug Enforcement Administration at 570-496-1020.
According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, powder cocaine, and cocaine base, or “crack.” Specifically, the indictment alleges that Roman-Polanco is responsible for over one kilogram of heroin, 500 grams of cocaine, and 28 grams of crack; Davalos is responsible for more than 500 grams of cocaine; Echecarria-Jiminez is responsible for over 500 grams of cocaine; Martinez-Ortiz is responsible for more than 100 grams of heroin, 500 grams of cocaine, and 28 grams of crack; and Murphy is responsible for more than one kilogram of heroin. One hundred grams of heroin is the equivalent of approximately 4,000 individual doses of heroin.
The Indictment further charges Roman-Polanco with possession of an AR-15 rifle after a prior felony conviction.
This indictment was the result of a year-long investigation, in part driven by multiple wiretaps, conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Wilkes-Barre Police Department, and Pennsylvania State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean A. Camoni.
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.
The maximum penalty under federal law for these offenses, depending on the weight of the drugs charged, is 40 years or life imprisonment, 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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