A resident of California, Crispin Fernandez, aged 26, pleaded guilty on 30th August on drug related charges before U.S District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion.
Fernandez confessed to actively participating in a conspiracy to transport more than a kilogram of heroin from California to Carbon County in Pennsylvania using courierservices from July2018 until his arrest in August this year as communicated by U.S Attorney David. J. Freed.
Crispin Fernandez and his role in this trafficking scheme was identified after extensive investigations conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in conjunction with the Pennsylvania and Illinois State Police and Project Safe Neighbourhoods (PSN) a program empowered by the Department of Justice as part of efforts to promote a well-oiled partnership betweeen federal, local, state and tribal law enforcement as well as U.S Attorney Offices to curb violent crime using well-thought out strategies and local techniques tailored to specific situations in 2017.
This case comes close on the heels of a district wide initiative to fight the national opioid crisis with emphasis on the use & distribution of heroin. Dubbed the Heroin Initiative, the approach aims at locating, arresting and prosecuting heroin traffickers in the Middle District of Pennsylvania with the collaborative help of law enforcement agencies. It will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S Attorney Francis P. Sempa.
Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement agents confiscated an estimated 3 kilograms of heroin which retails at about 120,000 bags approximated, from Pennsylvania and Illinois alone.
Fernandez may be facing life in prison if he is sentenced to the maximum penalty under federal law. The minimum mandatory penalty is 15 years imprisonment, but it is imperative to note that under sentencing guidelines, the court is encouraged to consider factors which resulted in the commission of the crime, ie. the nature, circumstances as well the history of the defendant and the seriousness of the offense amongst many others. Based on these, it is unlikely that Fernandez will receive the strictest of punishments as the mandatory maximum penalty is not an adequate measure of a possible sentence.
Sentencing is expected to be arranged at a later date when presentenceinvestigations have been concluded as ordered by Judge Mannion.