U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania
(717) 221-4482
September 16, 2015

Federal Inmates in Wayne County Charged with Assaults with a Dangerous Weapon

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that late yesterday a federal grand jury in Scranton indicted five federal inmates at the United States Penitentiary Canaan (“USP Canaan”), in Waymart, Pennsylvania, in separate cases involving alleged assaults with a dangerous weapon.

One of the incidents involves an assault by an inmate on correction officers.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the following inmates were charged in the following cases:

Jerome Lummes, age 37, is charged with assaulting four correctional officers at USP Canaan on August 18, 2015. Lummes also was charged with possessing a homemade weapon fashioned from a sharpened piece of metal, commonly known as a “shank.”

The maximum penalty under federal law for Lummes is 20 years of imprisonment for each assault count, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty under federal law is five years of imprisonment for the use of a dangerous weapon, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine.

On June 3, 2015, inmate Reuben Blajos, age 41, originally from California, and inmate Manuel Vasquez-Perez, age 39, originally from Mexico, allegedly assaulted another inmate at USP-Canaan, repeatedly striking the victim with improvised weapons made by tying metal padlocks to prison-issued socks.

Blajos and Vasquez-Perez face up to 20 years’ incarceration and fines of up to $750,000.

James E. Carson, age 29, is charged with assaulting a fellow inmate at USP Canaan on July 12, 2015. Carson also was charged with possessing a homemade weapon fashioned from a sharpened piece of metal, commonly known as a “shank.”

The maximum penalty under federal law for Carson is 15 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.

Efrain Rodriguez, age 43, was charged with assaulting a fellow inmate at USP Canaan on July 23, 2015. Rodriguez also was charged with possessing a homemade weapon fashioned from a razor blade and a toothbrush, commonly known as a “shank.”

The maximum penalty under federal law for Rodriguez is 10 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.

The investigations were conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and officers from USP Canaan. Lummes is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John C. Gurganus. Blajos and Vasquez-Perez and are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter Hobart. Carson and Rodriguez are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Phillip J. Caraballo.

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.

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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