BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Andre Richards, 23, of Jamestown, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life and a $10,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, since January 2022, law enforcement has been investigating the drug trafficking activities of Richards in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties in NY, and in Warren, PA. During the investigation, Richards was charged with several New York State felonies involving the possession and distribution of large quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl as well as criminal possession of a loaded firearm. Despite these pending felony charges, Richards continued to operate a significant drug trafficking organization. The complaint states that Richards utilized a North Main Street residence in Russell, PA, as well as a residence on South Work Street in Falconer, NY.
In March 2023, after investigators conducted surveillance of Richards driving around Jamestown, NY, and observed him engaging in activity consistent with narcotics dealing, including a brief meeting with an individual that involved a hand-to-hand exchange, search warrants were executed on his vehicle and the residence in Falconer, NY. During the searches, law enforcement seized approximately 84 grams of crystal methamphetamine, approximately $6,600.00 of United States currency, a digital scale, a drug processing press, a 9mm magazine, and bullets. During a search of the Russell, PA, residence, law enforcement seized approximately 20 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine.
Richards made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and was detained.
The complaint is the result of a joint investigation by the Jamestown Police Department Drug Task Force, under the direction of Chief Timothy Jackson, the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, under the direction of Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Eugene Staniszewski, the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Frank A. Tarentino III, New York Field Division, and the Warren County, PA, Drug Task Force, under the direction of Sheriff Brian Zeybel.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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