Ex-Pittston Township Police Officer Todd Houghtlin, 52, of Pennsylvania's Luzerne County, pleaded guilty on Aug. 2, 2022, before US District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani, top possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and illegal possession of a firearm. Coffee or Die Magazine composite.
A suspended Pennsylvania cop who moonlighted as a drug dealer in 2020 has pleaded guilty to federal narcotics and weapons charges.
Ex-Pittston Township Police Officer Todd Houghtlin of Luzerne County is slated to be sentenced Nov. 1 in Scranton before US District Judge Robert D. Mariani for possession with intent to distribute the synthetic opioid fentanyl and illegal possession of a firearm, according to the US Department of Justice.
But that’s not what Houghtlin told Coffee or Die Magazine. Reached by telephone on Wednesday, Aug. 10, he insisted he’s already been punished and served a sentence of probation in the eight days since he appeared in court to plead guilty.
“I’m done, done, done. I’ve been done,” he said.
Houghtlin’s court-appointed attorney has yet to respond to messages seeking clarification. According to a plea agreement Houghtlin inked with federal prosecutors on Nov. 17, 2021, he faces up to 30 years behind bars and a $1.25 million fine.
“The Faces of Fentanyl” wall, which displays photos of Americans who’ve died from an overdose of the synthetic opioid, debuted at the US Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, on July 13, 2022. America’s opioid crisis has reached catastrophic proportions, with more than 80,000 people dying of opioid overdoses last year, most of them by illicit synthetics such as fentanyl. That’s more than seven times the number a decade ago. Photo by Agnes Bun/AFP/Getty Images.
According to Pennsylvania’s Kingston Municipal Police Department, Houghtlin was nabbed during a probe into narcotics trafficking by the Bloods, a nationwide street gang.
After the arrest of a reputed gang member, officers from the Luzerne County Drug Task Force and the Kingston Police staked out Houghtlin's Plymouth home on July 14, 2020. They tracked a vehicle after it left the residence and pulled into a parking stall off Route 11. Two minutes later, a truck rumbled up next to it, and investigators saw something exchanged between the drivers.
Sgt. Eric Keiper conducted a traffic stop on the truck, and the man behind the wheel flashed his patrolman’s badge from Pittston Township. Next to him in the passenger seat was a brick — 50 bags — of fentanyl. Houghtlin was armed with a Ruger LCP .38-caliber pistol.
A records check revealed that Houghtlin’s certification as a cop had been suspended by the Municipal Police Officer’s Education and Training Commission six months earlier.
According to his plea agreement, Houghtlin confessed to abusing narcotics, which made it unlawful for him to possess a firearm.
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Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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