Heroin is a major problem in northeastern Pennsylvania, particularly Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, including Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, etc. Families across the Scranton area are affected by heroin. The drug targets people from all walks of life, rich and poor.

The Lackawanna and Luzerne county area serves as a hub for drug activity, given its proximity to the highways connecting New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The FBI and DEA have focused their drug dealing investigations in the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre area. In the last few decades, there has been a drastic increase in the number of federal and state drug prosecutions for heroin possession and heroin dealing. A few years ago, there were around 100 drug prosecutions involving heroin; as recently as 2013, there were 300 such cases. That number has likely increased since then. Now, there may be roughly 400 or 500 heroin criminal cases in the greater Scranton, Wilkes-Barre area.

There are two reasons for the drastic increase in the number of criminal cases involving heroin. First, heroin is much more potent now than in years past. Second, heroin costs much less. Years ago, a $10 bag may have been 20% pure. That same bag is now 60% pure. When injected, heroin users often become heavily addicted. This is what has fueled the rise in heroin arrests.

More: Federal Criminal Drug Cases in Philadelphia: Defining “Knowingly or Intentionally” (January 12th, 2015) Get information about the elements of federal drug possession and distribution charges. How do prosecutors prove “knowingly or intentionally” in federal drug cases?


Many Scranton area drug cases involve the death of an individual who was sold heroin. The punishments in both state and federal courts for drug cases resulting in death are very steep, especially when there are prior drug dealing convictions. In some instances, criminal defendants face life in prison. Oftentimes, criminal defendants face decades in prison.

Example: A Scranton resident is arrested for dealing heroin by federal law enforcement officers. One of the individuals who purchased heroin from the resident dies due to an overdose. Depending on the amount of heroin the defendant is charged with possessing, he or she faces a prison sentence of 20 years to life, and that’s just for a first time offense. For a second or third time drug dealing offense, the same individual would face a life sentence.

Related Scranton Drug News: Federal Drug Charge News – Recent Drug Trafficking Cases in Scranton, By a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer (December 27, 2015) In December, a Scranton area man was arrested and charged with federal drug dealing and gun offenses.


If you or a loved one is facing criminal drug charges in the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre area, call our office for a free consultation. Our criminal defense lawyers routinely handle cases in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. (215) 564-0644

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