Monday, December 10, 2018

Pottsville Man Pleads Guilty for Methamphetamine Trafficking

On Friday, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Anibal Luis Rodriguez, age 27, of Pottsville, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, before U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani.


According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Rodriguez, admitted to committing the offense between July 2016 and May 24, 2017, in Schuylkill County and elsewhere. The plea agreement notes that Rodriguez was the organizer and leader of the drug conspiracy and used violence or threats in connection with the drug conspiracy.

Rodriguez was indicted by a grand jury along with three other persons in August 2017. Two of those co-defendants, David Castro and Laverne Schaeffer, previously pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing. Another co-conspirator, Ernest Schaeffer, also previously pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Judge Mariani ordered a presentence report to be completed. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and local police from Schuylkill County. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

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. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of a 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.

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 is life in prison, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The charge also carries a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment. 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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