SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Demetrius Taylor, age 30, of Patterson, New Jersey, and Joseph Decker, age 28, of Monroe County, Pennsylvania, were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion for heroin/fentanyl trafficking offenses resulting in death. Taylor received a sentence of 240 months in prison and Decker was sentenced to 180 months in prison.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, both Decker and Taylor previously pleaded guilty to distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, resulting in death.  On February 21, 2020, Taylor distributed heroin and fentanyl to Decker, who subsequently distributed the heroin and fentanyl to an individual who, in turn, shared it with a 32-year-old woman.  The woman overdosed and died on February 26, 2020 after ingesting the drugs. 

On July 18, 2022, Taylor and Decker’s co-conspirator, Mary Keiper, age 27, of Monroe County, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possesses with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin and fentanyl and is awaiting sentencing.

The charges stem from a joint investigation involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Scranton, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department.  United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin and fentanyl.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin traffickers operating in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and is part of a coordinated effort among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit heroin related offenses.

This case is also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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