On August 31, U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion sentenced 36-year-old Franklin Tejeda to 87 months in prison for his part in an international pill trafficking organization. Tejeda, according to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, imported hundreds of thousands of Schedule ll and Schedule IV pills between 2014 and 2016.
The press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania revealed that Tejeda had pleaded guilty to the charges in October 2016. The Drug Enforcement Administration and United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case as part of Pennsylvania’s “Heroin Initiative.” While the Hazleton man received no charges directly related to heroin use or distribution, the United States Attorney’s Office did charge him with importing more than six types of prescription drugs.
However, this case was a part of the Heroin Initiative, a multi-agency initiative to stop heroin and fentanyl abuse through several means, including drug treatment and more invasive law enforcement measures. The Heroin Initiative is not a Pennsylvania exclusive venture, nor is it brand new. Some states had implemented their own form of the action plan in 2014. Here is the only part in Pennsylvania’s that speaks of more than just heroin and Pennsylvania:
“In order to target rapid overdose responses—especially to deadly “batches” of fentanyl-adulterated heroin—information and intelligence must be routinely reported, consolidated, and analyzed. Led by the FBI and DEA, and with help from state and local partners, our district established an intelligence clearinghouse, or fusion center, to receive reports of heroin overdoses and seizures from first responders. Submissions to the fusion center have already resulted in investigation leads and enabled us to link distributors, telephone numbers, and stamped bags for enhanced, coordinated investigation.”
According to criminal information filed with the USAO, Tejeda imported oxycodone pills, hydrocodone pills, Percocet® pills, Tramadol® pills, Diazepam pills, and Xanax® pills, among others. He pleaded guilty to the importation of these drugs, as well as their distribution. He ordered the pills from co-conspirators in India and the Dominican Republic. He orchestrated the delivery of the drugs to recipients in Hazleton.
Between November 2014 and March 2016, Tejeda distributed hundreds of thousands of pills to customers in no particular region. In March 2016, Hazleton Police and the DEA raided Tejeda’s residence. They arrested Tejeda and seized more than 100,000 Schedule II and IV pills. In October, Tejeda pleaded guilty to his role in the international pill distribution conspiracy.
In addition to the 87 months Tejeda must spend in prison, Judge Mannion sentenced Tejeda three years of government supervision upon release.