A Pennsylvania man recently learned the hard way that crime doesn't pay. A Galeton man received a 20-year sentence in federal prison for illegally selling the pharmaceuticals oxycodone and fentanyl. The case was part of a wide-scale initiative to crack down on heroin and opioid offenses. Many local Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies are increasing their efforts to target drug traffickers.
What Led to the Arrest?
The Middle District of Pennsylvania launched The Heroin Initiative, a campaign to combat the opioid epidemic. The initiative uses federal and local law enforcement to arrest criminals guilty of distributing heroin and other opioids.
Police caught the man after one of his customers overdosed on fentanyl. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the man and his now-deceased girlfriend made routine deliveries of 100 to 200 oxycodone tablets and 1 to 2 fentanyl patches every month.
The man is currently serving a 20-year sentence, the mandatory minimum for delivering a drug resulting in serious bodily injury. He was also convicted of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, fentanyl, and heroin and distribution charges.
Pennsylvania and Illegal Pharmaceuticals
Pennsylvania has strict laws that prohibit the possession, distribution, and creation of illegal pharmaceuticals. The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act of Pennsylvania differentiates drugs by different schedules. This law determines schedules based on several factors, including the drug's potential for abuse and its medical use. Heroin falls into the most serious category, Schedule 1. Many pharmaceutical drugs fall into Schedule 2 due to their accepted medical use in the United States.
Examples of schedule 2 drugs include:
What Are the Punishments for Getting Caught With Illegal Pharmaceuticals?
The punishment for drug charges depends on the schedule of the drug and the amount in possession. Pennsylvania has severe consequences for people caught possessing, distributing, and manufacturing illegal pharmaceuticals. Even a first conviction for possessing fentanyl, oxycodone, or heroin can lead to costly fines and lengthy prison sentences.
Pennsylvania outlines the punishments for drug crimes in Section 13 of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act. Examples of punishments include:
Drug Trafficking The illegal sale of a controlled substance from one person to another. A felony with up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 narcotics. May face additional penalties for multiple offenses, selling to a minor, or if the drug causes bodily injury or death.
Possession with Intent to Deliver This is the attempt to traffic a controlled substance. It depends on factors like how much of the drug a person has at the time of the arrest. The penalties can be just as extreme as drug trafficking and include felony charges, up to 15 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine for Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 narcotics.
Possession Knowingly having a controlled substance without authority. Possession of Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 drugs is a misdemeanor. It carries a punishment of up to 1 year in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Subsequent convictions come with additional penalties.
Drug charges carry steep consequences that can affect your freedom. If you've been accused of a drug crime in Pennsylvania, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento. He has spent many years fighting for clients and achieving favorable outcomes in drug cases. Call Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.