Montoursville drug dealer remains in prison for life

A life sentence was upheld Tuesday for a former Montoursville resident convicted in 2007 of methamphetamine and marijuana distribution.

Charles Sechler, 44, will remain in prison for life after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence imposed by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik.

Sechler participated in an eight-year drug trafficking conspiracy between 1995 and 2003, according to U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith.

After his conviction, Sechler was released on bail and fled to Canada, but was captured by Canadian authorities in cooperation with the U.S. Marshals Service. He fought extradition by claiming he was a “political prisoner,” but was returned to the U.S. and sentenced on July 14, 2011.

In upholding the life sentence, the court noted Sechler was responsible for distributing at least 15 kilograms of methamphetamine and more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, possessed firearms in connection with the conspiracy, and was organizer and leader of the drug-distribution operation.

The court rejected Sechler’s argument the sentence violated his constitutional rights, a prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. The sentence was considered to be not “grossly disproportionate when balanced against the gravity of his offenses.”

A co-defendant, Steven Fausnaught, was sentenced to 24 years in prison and his sentence previously was affirmed on appeal.