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Justice News

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

Friday, March 9, 2018

York Man Convicted On Drug Trafficking Charges

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Raul Cotto-Rivera, age 40, of York, Pennsylvania, was convicted yesterday of various drug trafficking offenses after a three-day jury trial held before U.S. District Court Judge Yvette Kane.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Cotto-Rivera was convicted of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams and more of heroin and 500 grams and more of cocaine hydrochloride, distribution of heroin (3 counts), possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine hydrochloride, distribution of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, cocaine hydrochloride and marijuana.

The charges stemmed from a number of controlled buys of heroin that were made by and through Cotto-Rivera in September and October of 2015.  In October 2015, law enforcement obtained and executed a search warrant and located approximately $20,000 in United States currency, a drug ledger, drug packaging material and distribution quantities of cocaine and heroin all in the defendant’s home.  While on release, Cotto-Rivera continued to sell drugs and was engaged in the distribution of marijuana from his store.  A second search warrant executed in February of 2017, located distribution quantities of marijuana and cocaine, drug packaging materials and a loaded stolen firearm.

A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, the York County Drug Task Force, the Pennsylvania State Police, the York Area Regional Police Department, the West Manchester Township Police Department, the York County Sheriff’s Office, the Springettsbury Township Police Department, and the York County District Attorney’s Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daryl F. Bloom and Carl Marchioli.

This case was brought as 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.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.   In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

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.

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 defendant faces a mandatory term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 160 years, 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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Drug Trafficking
Updated March 9, 2018