Guilt in drug case admitted
A Pottsville man could spend the rest of his life in federal prison after admitting Thursday in U.S. District Court in Scranton that he conspired to distribute more than a pound of methamphetamine in and around Schuylkill County.
Anibal L. Rodriguez, 27, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.
U.S. District Judge Robert D. Mariani accepted Rodriguez’s plea, ordered preparation of a presentence report and said he would schedule sentencing at a later date.
Rodriguez admitted in his plea that between July 2016 and May 24,2017, he participated in the conspiracy, U.S. Attorney David J. Freed said Friday.
In fact, according to the plea agreement, Rodriguez organized and led the conspiracy, and also used threats or violence in connection with carrying it out, according to Freed.
A federal grand jury indicted Rodriguez and three other people in August 2017 in connection with the conspiracy. The other three conspirators, David Castro, Ernest Schaeffer and Laverne Schaeffer, also all have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Rodriguez faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison for his crime. He is in prison while awaiting sentencing.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pennsylvania State Police and local police in Schuylkill County investigated the case, which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.
Prosecutors brought the case as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve in an effort to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer. The Department of Justice reinvigorated the program in 2017 in a renewed effort to target violent criminals.