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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Wilkes-Barre Man Convicted Of Methamphetamine Laboratory And False Statement Offenses

SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Michael Laury, age 41, formerly of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was convicted following a jury trial, of methamphetamine and false statement offenses.  The six-day trial was held before United States District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion in Scranton.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the jury returned the guilty verdict on all counts charged in the superseding indictment after approximately three hours of deliberation.  Laury was convicted of one count of managing a drug premises, one count of conspiring to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine, and one count of making a false statement to the FBI.

The evidence presented at trial showed that in May and June 2017, Laury assisted two drug dealers in running a methamphetamine laboratory in the basement of Laury’s Wilkes-Barre residence.  The FBI and Pennsylvania State Police shuttered the laboratory in June 2017, when executing a search warrant.  Following the search, Laury made false statements to the FBI about his knowledge of and involvement with the laboratory.

Laury has remained in custody since his October 2017 arrest.  He was charged with three coconspirators, all of whom pleaded guilty to various methamphetamine offenses:

  1. Mark Heath, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine conspiracy and awaits sentencing;
  2. Shawn Melleski, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine conspiracy and was sentenced to 46 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release; and
  3. Amy Casey, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug premises and awaits sentencing.

The matter was investigated by the FBI, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Wilkes-Barre Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Phillip J. Caraballo and Jeffrey St John.

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. The Department of Justice 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.

The combined maximum penalty under federal law for Laury is up to 45 years of imprisonment. There is also 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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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated September 16, 2020