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Luzerne County Man Pleads Guilty To Distributing Heroin And Fentanyl

SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Jeffrey Abney, age 28, of Sugar Notch, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on January 10, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion to distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Abney admitted to distributing heroin and fentanyl in July 2018 in Luzerne County.  Investigators made a number of purchases of packets containing heroin laced with fentanyl from Abney, and then obtained a search warrant for Abney’s residence in Sugar Notch, where additional amounts of heroin and fentanyl were found.

Judge Mannion ordered a presentence report to be completed.  Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.        

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who were assisted by the Kingston Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. O’Hara is prosecuting the case.

This case is 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.  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 enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce crime.

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.        

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 is up to 20 years’ 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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Author: January 30, 2019

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