The U.S. Attorney's office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced that a federal grand jury has returned a nine-count indictment charging two suspects with participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy that allegedly operated in the Schuylkill County area and elsewhere since January 2010.

According to U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith, Scott Murphy 33, of Auburn, and Clayton Pepe, 23, of Schuylkill Haven, are charged with conspiring with each other and others to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana and Percocet. The grand jury also charged both defendants with multiple counts of using a telephone to facilitate the drug conspiracy.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the state police at the Schuylkill County District Attorney's office.

Smith noted that each defendant faces a mandatory five year prison term sentence and a potential maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and fines of up to $2 million if convicted of the conspiracy charge. Each count of using a telephone to facilitate the conspiracy is punishable by up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.