SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Francheska Quinones, age 28, formerly of Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on October 20, 2020, before U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani, to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamiAccording to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Quinones admitted to participating in a conspiracy to distribute between 500 grams and 1.5 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in Luzerne, Lackawanna and Schuylkill Counties between January 2017 and December 2018. Quinones was one of five individuals indicted by a grand jury in December 2018 for methamphetamine trafficking in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Judge Mariani ordered that a presentence report be completed. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Pennsylvania State Police, the Kingston Police Department, the Luzerne County Drug Task Force, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. O’Hara 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 the Department’s 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 charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years in prison under federal law. The maximum penalty for the charge is up to life in prison, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $10,000,000 fine. 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.