Monday, December 19, 2022

Schuylkill County Man Faces Federal Drug Trafficking Charges Stemming from August Arrest

The arrest of a Pottsville man in August by Pennsylvania State Police has led to Federal Drug Trafficking charges.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on December 13, 2022, John Bartel, age 63, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, was indicted by a federal grand jury for methamphetamine and fentanyl trafficking.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, the indictment charges Bartel with possession with intent to distribute more than fifty grams of methamphetamine and an additional amount of fentanyl, on August 3, 2022, in Schuylkill County.

According to a story Skook News published in August, the Pennsylvania State Police at Schuylkill Haven, reported on August 3rd, 2022, around 9:50pm, a traffic stop was conducted on a vehicle in the area of North Centre Street and West Laurel Boulevard.

The driver, Bartel, was taken into custody after a "significant" amount of drugs were found in the vehicle.

Troopers say approximately 58g of methamphetamine, 1,372 bags of suspected fentanyl, and assorted drug paraphernalia were seized from the vehicle.

The investigation for Federal charges was conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. O’Hara is prosecuting the case.

The Depart of Justice said this case was prosecuted as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin and other opioids. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin and opioid 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 opioid trafficking offenses.

This case is also 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum sentence under federal law is up to forty years in prison, a term of supervised release and a fine. 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.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.