Philadelphia Man Pleads Guilty to Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 31-year-old Philadelphia man pleaded guilty today in Scranton before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion to participating in a conspiracy that distributed heroin during November 2013 to January 2014.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the defendant, Luis Morales, admitted that he conspired with others, including Eudy Gonzalez, then an inmate at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at SCI Waymart, to distribute and possess the heroin in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Morales was indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2014, as a result of an investigation by special agents and task force officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Scranton Police.
Morales faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million. Judge Mannion ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed prior to sentencing. Two of Morales’ co-defendants, Linda Reyes and Eudy Gonzalez, previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
A sentence following a finding of guilty 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.