A man accused of masterminding a five-county drug ring in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Charles J. Sechler, 41, of Montoursville, fled to Canada upon being convicted on July 30, 2007, of conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and 100 kilograms of marijuana, attempted manufacture of marijuana and possession of equipment used to manufacture marijuana.
He unsuccessfully sought refugee status before being deported back to the United States.
“The sentence rendered … was appropriate, especially given the nature of the offenses and Sechler’s attempt to escape the consequences of his crimes by hiding in Canada,” U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith said of the sentence rendered Thursday by Senior U.S. District Judge Edwin M. Kosik in U.S. District Court, Scranton.
Sechler must also pay $3,000 in fines and $300 in special assessments as part of his sentence.
Sechler was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 12, 2003, for allegedly masterminding a drug ring which operated in Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland and Schuylkill counties from 1995 through January 2003.
On Feb. 4, 2010, a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Sechler’s petition to be allowed to prosecute his own appeal as an affront to the dignity of the U.S. District Court.
Sechler’s co-defendant, Steven Fausnaught, Danville, is currently serving more than 24 years in prison. The 3rd circuit already has affirmed Fausnaught’s conviction and sentence and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa prosecuted the case. The FBI, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Bloomsburg police and Columbia County Drug Task Force participated in the investigation.
– Article from Republican Herald.
Man Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison for Drugs
A former Montoursville-area resident was sentenced to life in federal prison for his role in a methamphetamine and marijuana trafficking conspiracy over eight years, according to Peter J. Smith, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District.
Charles Sechler, 41, was convicted by a jury after a six-day trial in July 2007 for conspiring to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and 100 kilograms of marijuana, Smith said.
In addition, Sechler attempted to grow marijuana and possessed equipment used to grow the drug, the prosecutor said.
After the trial, Sechler fled to Canada and was considered a fugitive for more than six months until he was apprehended by Canadian authorities with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service and extradited here to face sentencing.
Sechler was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Edwin M. Kosik in the Scranton office.
The drug ring operated in Lycoming, Columbia, Northumberland, Montour and Schuylkill counties from 1995 through January 2003, having links to drug traffickers in western portions of the U.S., Smith said.
Sechler and other conspirators possessed numerous firearms in connection with the drug operation, authorities alleged.
Sechler was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2003 as a result of an investigation by the FBI, state police, state attorney general’s office, Bloomsburg police and Columbia County Drug Task Force, Smith said.
Steven Fausnaught of Catawissa, Sechler’s co-defendant, who was convicted of conspiracy and related charges, was previously sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison, Smith said.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa, a prosecutor in the Scranton office.
– Article from Williamsport Sun-Gazette.