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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wilkes-Barre Man Charged With Drug Trafficking And Firearms Charges

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a Wilkes-Barre resident was indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges of distributing crack cocaine and unlawfully possessing a firearm.

     According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the defendant, Tristan Somers, age 30, was charged with seven counts of distribution of crack cocaine, possessing a firearm in connection with drug trafficking, and possessing a firearm as an unlawful user of controlled substances. The offenses allegedly occurred between March 2014 and May 28, 2014.

     The charges stem from an investigation by special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Kingston Police, and Wilkes-Barre Police.

     If the defendant is convicted of the charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each drug trafficking crime, up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for possessing a firearm as an unlawful user of drugs, and a mandatory five-years in prison and up to life in prison for possessing a firearm in connection with drug trafficking.

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

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

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

     In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 10 years 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.

Updated April 17, 2015