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Five Pennsylvania residents face federal drug charges

For recreational drug users, the dangers of those drugs are usually pushed to the back of their minds. In many cases, using drugs ends uneventfully. Sadly, though, using drugs ended the life of a 21-year-old man in Lurgan Township, Pennsylvania. Now, the people who were allegedly involved in the drug trade that led to his death have been charged with various federal drug charges.

Five people in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, have been charged with illegal use of a communications facility, distribution and possession with the intent to distribute heroin and criminal conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin. Some of them face other charges as well.

According to an indictment, a 19-year-old woman, a 48-year-old man, and a 30-year-old man's actions led to the death of the 21-year-old, who died of heroin toxicity. The connection to the other two people arrested wasn't immediately known. The indictment alleges that they were trafficking heroin in Cumberland County and Franklin County beginning in October of last year.

Three of the people who were charged each face a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and a statutory maximum of life in prison if they are convicted on the drug trafficking charges. The other two people face up to 40 years in prison if they are convicted.

The investigation into the man's death is what led law enforcement officials to these five people. According to a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, there have been 30 heroin-related deaths between 2009 and the middle of 2013 in Franklin and Cumberland counties.

It's important to remember that not everyone charged with a crime is guilty and just because someone is arrested does not mean he or she is guilty. Proving guilt falls to the prosecution, who must do so beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide information about a defendant's various options for fighting such charges.

Source: Herald-Mail Media, "Five from Shippensburg face charges in heroin death" Jennifer Fitch, Mar. 26, 2014

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