DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 7, 2020
David J. Freed
, United States Attorney
Contact: Dawn Clark

Three Harrisburg Men Charged with Drug Trafficking and Firearms Offenses

HARRISBURG- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Jorge Maldonado, age 59, Joel Maldonado, age 23, and Jose Flores, age 58, all of Harrisburg, were indicted on February 5, 2020, by a federal grand jury on drug trafficking and firearms charges.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl; possession of a firearm by a felon; and maintaining a drug premises in Harrisburg between August 1, 2019 and January 23, 2020. The conspiracy involved over 100 grams of heroin and over 40 grams of fentanyl.

The matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Dauphin County Drug Task Force, and the Harrisburg Bureau of Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Ford 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. 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 also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.

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.

Indictments and Criminal Informations 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.

The maximum penalty under federal law for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and distribution of controlled substances is 40 years, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The maximum penalty under federal law for maintaining a drug premises is 20 years imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The maximum penalty under federal law for possession of a firearm by a felon is 10 years, 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, 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.

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Philadelphia Field Division