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Drug dealer receives 30 year sentence

A heroin and carfentanil dealer faces up to 30 years in prison after being sentenced in a jury trial in federal court this week.

Raymond Howard, 45, of Philadelphia, was convicted on Tuesday in U.S. Middle District Court after the trial before District Court Judge Matthew W. Brann, on drug trafficking charges.

The jury deliberated one hour and found that from October 2016 to July 2017, in Lycoming County, Howard engaged in a conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and a mixture of heroin and carfentanil.

During a three-day period in June 2017, there was a rash of drug overdoses in Williamsport, according to United States Attorney David J. Freed.

At the time, UPMC Susquehanna in Williamsport and Wellsboro reported treating 51 such cases within a 48-hour period.

The trial team offered evidence that Howard and his coconspirators Wayne Davidson, Markeese Askew, and Nathan Crowder used cell phones to arrange for the distribution of heroin and, specifically, a mixture of heroin and carfentanil that resulted in number of overdoses from June 28 through July 7, 2020.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

Howard’s three coconspirators, Davidson, Askew and Crowder all pleaded guilty earlier in October and face minimum sentences of 11 years’ imprisonment.

In total, Howard and the three coconspirators were charged with delivering a mixture of heroin and carfentanil that resulted in serious bodily injury to eight individuals.

The case was investigated by the Lycoming County District Attorney’s Office Narcotics Enforcement Unit, Montoursville Police Department, Old Lycoming Township Police Department, South Williamsport Police Department, Williamsport Bureau of Police, Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Alisan V. Martin and Geoffrey W. MacArthur prosecuted the case.

The heroin and overdose problem is not abating.

“The numbers are continuing to climb overall,” Lycoming County Coroner Charles Kiessling said.

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