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SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Gene Hawkins, age 50, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on October 9, 2020, by U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani to 21 months’ imprisonment for selling 1.5 grams of heroin in 2015.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Hawkins pleaded guilty to distributing a “brick” (approximately 50 individual doses) of heroin on August 3, 2015 in Hazleton.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Hazleton Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa prosecuted 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.

This case was also brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin.  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.     

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