Skip to main content
Press Release

Wilkes-Barre Man Sentenced To 15 Years’ Imprisonment For Cocaine Trafficking

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 that Ernesto Richards, age 37, formerly of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Malachy E. Mannion to 180 months of imprisonment.  Richards previously pleaded guilty to distributing and possessing with intent to distribute cocaine.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, on September 22, 2022, Richards received a package shipped from Panama at his Wilkes-Barre residence, containing over a kilogram of cocaine.  A subsequent search of the residence recovered an additional 150 grams of cocaine, over $11,000, and three firearms, one of which was stolen.  Richards has remained in custody since his arrest that day.

The case was investigated by agents from Homeland Security Investigations and troopers from the Pennsylvania State Police.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip J. Caraballo prosecuted the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

# # #

Updated September 28, 2023

Drug Trafficking