Two Monroe County residents convicted of distributing controlled substances resulting in death | USAO-MDPA
SCRANTON — The United States Attorney’s Office for the Intermediate District of Pennsylvania announced today that Jeremy Edward Johnson, 31, and Susan Melissa Nickas, 47, both of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, have been convicted of conspiracy for the purpose of distributing and possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl in the Central District of Pennsylvania, resulting in the death of one person, after an eight-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E Mannion.
According to U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam, jurors deliberated for about two hours before returning guilty verdicts against Johnson and Nickas in the Dec. 11, 2020, death of a 32-year-old Monroe County man. Johnson and Nickas were also convicted of aiding and abetting each other during a heroin and fentanyl distribution on December 10, 2020, resulting in this death.
Prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office presented testimony from multiple witnesses, including Dr. Michael Coyer, a forensic toxicologist, who believed the death resulted from heroin and fentanyl use; and a PSP forensic chemist, who analyzed the drugs found at the scene of the death. Additional testimony was provided by officers and detectives from the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office; Pennsylvania State Police; Pocono Township Police Department, FBI Bureau – Scranton; and an FBI special agent from the Pittsburgh office.
The charges stem from a joint investigation involving the FBI in Scranton, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Monroe County District Attorney‘s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Olshefski and Sean Camoni prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of a district-wide initiative to address the national epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin and fentanyl. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin traffickers operating in the Central District of Pennsylvania and is part of a coordinated effort among federal law enforcement agencies, state and local authorities to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who commit heroin-related offences. .
This case was also part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, the centerpiece of the Justice Department’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program that has been shown to be effective in reducing violent crime. Through the PSN, a wide range of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime issues in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, the PSN focuses its law enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with local prevention and rehabilitation programs for a lasting reduction in crime.
The maximum penalty under federal law is life in prison, a period of supervised release after imprisonment and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature and seriousness of the offence; the history and characteristics of the accused; and the need to punish the accused, protect the public, and provide for the educational, professional and medical needs of the accused. For these reasons, the maximum legal sentence for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.