Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Kingston Man Indicted for Drug Distribution Resulting in Death and Other Drug and Firearms Charges

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SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Rodney Williams, age 34, of Kingston, Pennsylvania, was indicted on August 28, 2018, by a federal grand jury on multiple drug trafficking charges, including drug distribution resulting in death, and firearms charges.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the indictment alleges that Williams distributed a mixture of heroin, fentanyl and acetyl, which caused the death of an individual who used the substance. Additionally, Williams is charged with distributing cocaine in February of 2018 and possessing heroin, cocaine, and multiple stolen firearms in his home when it was searched by law enforcement officers.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Luzerne County Drug Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

This case was 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.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions 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 law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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.

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The drug distribution resulting in death charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. The possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking charge carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. 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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Field Division: Philadelphia Field Division