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Press Release

Luzerne County Man Sentenced To Six Years’ Imprisonment For Fentanyl And Firearms Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

WILKES-BARRE - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that David Banks, age 33, formerly of Sugar Notch, Pennsylvania, entered a guilty plea on December 18, 2019, before Senior U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo, to charges of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  Banks was then immediately sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Banks was indicted by a grand jury in February 2018, after an incident in which police were called to a Wilkes-Barre hotel and found Banks in possession of a firearm and several packets of heroin.  In a separate incident, members of the Wilkes-Barre Police Department made a traffic stop of a vehicle in which Banks was an occupant and found Banks in possession of approximately 19 grams of fentanyl for further distribution. Nineteen grams of fentanyl is equivalent to approximately 9,500 individual doses.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Wilkes-Barre Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. O’Hara prosecuted the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce crime.

This case was also brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin.  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 Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.  Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.  The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from the following Project Guardian partners: [list partners here].  For more information about Project Guardian, please see

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Updated December 20, 2019

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods