New Jersey Man Sentenced To 240 Months’ Imprisonment For Conspiracy To Distribute Controlled Substances Resulting In Death

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A syringe with ampoules, white powder, a five-dollar bill with bullets and a gun lying on a black glass background. Dangerous bad habits, addiction to drugs and gambling. Crime because of drugs.

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that James R. Bell, age 30, of Newark, New Jersey was sentenced on June 21, 2021, to 240 months’ imprisonment to be followed by four years on supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion for conspiring to distribute controlled substances resulting in death.

According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Bell previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute fentanyl and heroin within the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which resulted in the death of a 22-year old Monroe County man in April of 2018.

The matter was investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Scranton, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski prosecuted the case.

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This case was brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide 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 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 heroin related offenses.


This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement 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 enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce crime.

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