The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced that a former Montoursville resident, who masterminded a multi-county methamphetamine and marijuana trafficking conspiracy for eight years, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Edwin M. Kosik to serve life in prison.

Charles Sechler, 41, was convicted by a jury after a six-day trial in July 2007.

Sechler conspired to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and 100 kilograms of marijuana, attempted to manufacture marijuana, and possessed equipment used to manufacture marijuana.

The drug ring operated in Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, and Schuylkill Counties from 1995 through January 2003, was responsible for distributing more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine and more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and had links to drug traffickers in the Western United States.

Sechler and other conspirators possessed numerous firearms in connection with the drug operation.

Sechler was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 12, 2003, as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, Bloomsburg Police, and the Columbia County Drug Task Force.

After the trial, Sechler fled to Canada. He was a fugitive for more than six months until apprehended by Canadian authorities with the assistance of United States Marshals and extradited to the United States to face sentencing.

Sechler's co-defendant in the trial, Steven Fausnaught, who was convicted of conspiracy and related charges, was previously sentenced to 292 months in prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.

U.S. Attorney Smith stated that the sentence rendered by Judge Kosik was appropriate especially given the nature of the offenses and Sechler's attempt to escape the consequences of his crimes by hiding in Canada.