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Press Release

Escapee Arrested

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announces that, RICHARD R. CEPHAS, of Wilmington, Delaware, was arrested on April 20, 2020 by the United States Marshals Service (USMS).  CEPHAS turned himself in at the Federal Courthouse in Delaware, approximately eighteen days after he is alleged to have escaped from the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in Butner, North Carolina on or about April 1, 2020.

Yesterday, CEPHAS had an initial appearance before a United States Magistrate Judge in Delaware.  He waived all preliminary hearings and was remanded to the custody of the USMS.  CEPHAS is currently pending transfer back to the Eastern District of North Carolina (EDNC) to face escape charges.  As alleged in a federal Criminal Complaint, signed by United States Magistrate Judge Robert T. Numbers, II on April 17, 2020, CEPHAS is charged with escaping from the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in Butner, North Carolina on or about April 1, 2020.  The USMS led the investigation of CEPHAS’ alleged escape.  More here.

U.S. Attorney Higdon said the following, “We are grateful for our dedicated law enforcement officers, particularly the United States Marshals Service, who investigated Mr. Cephas’ alleged escape over the past several weeks.  They pursued this case in the face of the heightened risk presented by the pandemic in order to ensure the public’s safety – an example of the critical role that law enforcement plays in protecting us every day.  Mr. Cephas will be extended his Constitutional rights when he appears in Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina, including the presumption of innocence and the requirement that the Government prove the escape case against him beyond a reasonable doubt.  We look forward to presenting our case before the Court.”

At the time of his alleged escape, CEPHAS was serving the remainder of his prison sentence at the Federal Prison Camp in Butner, NC.  In 2017, CEPHAS was sentenced by the United States District Court for the District of Delaware to a term of 66 months in federal prison – for his violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 (a)(l) and (b)(l)(A) and 846, Conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine.  The conviction and sentence resulted from a long-term High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) federal wiretap investigation spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Drug Trafficking Task Force in Delaware.  More about that investigation here. 

The charges and allegations contained in the Criminal Complaint are merely accusations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at

Updated April 21, 2020