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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania
Gerard M. Karam, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, April 15, 2024

Four Charged With Drug Trafficking and Firearms Offenses

SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Jamie Smicherko, age 27, of Avoca, Pennsylvania, Patrick Russin, age 54, of Shavertown, Pennsylvania, Ryan Medar, age 36, of Jenkin Township, Pennsylvania, and Carlos Laurel, age 45, of White Haven, Pennsylvania, were indicted on April 9, 2024, by a federal grand jury on drug trafficking and firearms charges. 

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, the indictment alleges that between October, 2023, and April, 2024, Smicherko, Russin, and Medar conspired to distribute over 500 grams of methamphetamine within Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  The indictment also alleges that Smircherko, Russin, Medar, and Laurel conspired to distribute cocaine. The indictment also alleges that Smicherko, Russin, and Medan also distributed quantities of methamphetamine.  The indictment further alleges that Medar and Smicherko both trafficked firearms and possessed firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and conspired to do the same.  

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), the Kingston Police Department, the Plains Township Police Depart, the Wilkes-Barre Police Department, the Pittston Police Department, the Luzerne County Drug Task Force, the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, and the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Buchanan is prosecuting the case.

This case was prosecuted under the new criminal provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Congress enacted and the President signed in June 2022.  The Act is the first federal statute specifically designed to target the unlawful trafficking and straw-purchasing of firearms.

This case is also 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

The maximum penalty under federal law for these offenses is imprisonment for life, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. 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.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

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