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Justice News

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

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wilkes-Barre Man Charged With Drug Distribution Resulting In Death

SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Brian Brew, age 38, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was indicted on March 20, 2018, by a federal grand jury with drug distribution resulting in death. The indictment was unsealed yesterday following Brew’s initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the indictment alleges that on January 13, 2018, Brew distributed a mixture of heroin and fentanyl which caused the death of an individual who used the substance.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny P. Roberts is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.   In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

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.

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 this offense is 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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Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated March 22, 2018