SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on November 9, 2021, Daniel D. Wheeler, a/k/a “Danny Manhattan,” age 32, of Jersey City, New Jersey, was charged by a federal grand jury with drug distribution resulting in death and conspiring to do the same. The case was unsealed following Wheeler’s arrest on November 30, 2021.
According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, the indictment alleges that Wheeler conspired to knowingly and intentionally distributing controlled substances, including fentanyl and heroin, within the Middle District of Pennsylvania, resulting in the death of a person. The indictment further alleges that Wheeler aided and abetted by another, did distribute heroin and fentanyl on March 31, 2020, which led to the death of another.
The charges stem from a joint investigation involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Scranton, the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department, and the United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney James M. Buchanan is prosecuting the case.
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 being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
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.
In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute for drug distribution resulting in death is life imprisonment. 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 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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