US Attorney: Pair Found Guilty of Distributing Fentanyl That Caused Death

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SCRANTON, PA — The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Jeremy Edward Johnson, age 31, and Susan Melissa Nickas, age 47, both of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, were found guilty Thursday of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl within the Middle District of Pennsylvania, resulting in the death of a person, after an eight-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, jurors deliberated for approximately two hours before rendering guilty verdicts against Johnson and Nickas for the December 11, 2020, death of a 32-year-old Monroe County man.  Both Johnson and Nickas were also found guilty of aiding and abetting each other in a December 10, 2020, distribution of heroin and fentanyl, resulting in that death.

Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented the testimony of multiple witnesses, including Dr. Michael Coyer, a Forensic Toxicologist, who opined that death resulted from the use of heroin and fentanyl; and a PSP Forensic Chemist, who analyzed drugs found at the scene of the death.  Additional testimony was provided by officers and detectives from the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office; the Pennsylvania State Police; the Pocono Township Police Department, the FBI – Scranton Office; and a 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.

The maximum penalty under federal law is life in prison, a term of supervised release following 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 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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