Federal prosecutors have accused a Pennsylvania plastic surgeon of interfering with an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The 68-year-old doctor has held a medical license within the state since 1976 and has performed thousands of surgical procedures from his office in Greensburg. As he nears the end of his career, he will have to address federal charges that he knowingly took steps to thwart a DEA investigation.
In an effort to stem the flow of drugs and weapons throughout Pennsylvania, The U.S. Attorney's office is unrolling a new initiative aimed at the state's highways. The effort, known as Project Safe Neighborhoods, is funded by way of a $44,000 Justice Department grant. Four state prosecutors have been deputized as special assistant U.S. attorneys and will work to examine local firearms cases and determine which ones are suitable for federal prosecution.
A recent arrest has led to multiple criminal charges for one Pennsylvania man. The 43-year-old man was arrested in another state, and is currently awaiting an extradition hearing to determine if he will be returned to Pennsylvania to face the serious charges against him. The most recent arrest was for firearms possession by a felon.
The former state treasurer of Pennsylvania was charged with two counts of extortion related to his dealings with a law firm and a property-management firm. The charges state that he used his position to intimidate two potential campaign donors. He issued verbal threats of possible retaliation if they did not donate. He could face up to 40 years in prison if the maximum penalty for both charges is issued.
Back in August, Attorney General Eric Holder repealed federal policy requiring that prosecutors pursue the maximum possible penalty for defendants accused of drug crimes. The new policy is aimed at protecting non-violent drug offenders from penalties that don't fit the crime.
Earlier this week, we discussed the federal gambling-related charges against a father and son in Montgomery County. The mother of the family was also facing a banking charge related to the gambling allegations, but a judge recently said the banking charge would be dropped. That is, if all of the other people charged in the case plead guilty to illegal gambling and racketeering.
A 52-year-old pharmacy professor at the University of Pittsburgh is facing serious drug charges after a colleague noticed what were described as "suspicious" drug purchases. The professor is accused of using federal grant money and school funds to purchase anti-anxiety medication and painkillers to be injected.
Federal authorities do not always satisfy constitutional standards in their law enforcement activities. There are numerous federal agencies operating in Pennsylvania and nationwide that make arrests on federal charges. Various examples of aborted federal arrests teach that consulting early with an attorney experienced in federal procedure is the best course to take.