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Press Release

Seven Charged In Drug Trafficking Ring

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

SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Jose Ramon De Leon-Pineda, age 33, of West Hazelton, Pennsylvania, Joel Contreras, age 25, of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, Alhagie Samba, age 49, Adrian Rivera, age 40, Jerrod Curtis, age 33, Nelson Soto, age 42, all of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and one other person were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 28, 2017, on drug trafficking charges. The indictment was unsealed following the arrests of the defendants.


One of the individuals charged remains at large and is considered a fugitive. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Drug Enforcement Administration at 570-496-1020.


According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, powder cocaine, and cocaine base, or “crack.” The indictment also alleges that De Leon-Pineda is responsible for over 100 grams of heroin and 28 grams of crack. One hundred grams of heroin is the equivalent of approximately 4,000 individual doses of heroin.


This indictment was the result of a year-long investigation, in part driven by multiple wiretaps, conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Wilkes-Barre Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean A. Camoni is prosecuting the case.


This case was 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.


Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.


A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 40 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated April 13, 2017

Drug Trafficking