A 23-year-old Jamestown man already facing a federal drug trafficking charge has been arrested for allegedly possessing methamphetamine.
Andre Richards was detained following an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy in Buffalo. He was charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday afternoon.
Beginning in January 2022, police began investigating Richards’ alleged drug trafficking activities in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties in New York and in Warren County in Pennsylvania.
Jamestown police filed host of charges against Richards and a Buffalo man in April 2022 after the pair entered a Crown Street home and displayed a pistol.
A search of a vehicle reportedly tied to the incident turned up the weapon in a hidden compartment of the vehicle as well as 76.4 grams of crack cocaine, 16.9 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 12.2 grams of powder cocaine and 68.2 grams of fentanyl.
Richards and the Buffalo man, identified at the time as Michael D. Bland, were charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminally using drug paraphernalia, second-degree criminal trespass, menacing and third-degree criminal mischief.
“Despite these pending felony charges, Richards continued to operate a significant drug trafficking organization,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday.
Richards is further accused of using properties in Falconer and Russell, Pa., for his drug-related activities.
While under surveillance in March, Richards was allegedly observed engaging in “activity consistent with narcotics dealing, including a brief meeting with an individual that involved a hand-to-hand exchange,” the government said.
A search of the Falconer property yielded about 84 grams of crystal methamphetamine, about $6,600 of U.S. currency, a digital scale, a drug processing press, a 9mm magazine and ammunition. Investigators also recovered
Richards is facing a federal drug charge of possessing with intent to distribute nearly 21 pounds of methamphetamine after investigators searched the Russell property this past spring. That investigation was undertaken by the Warren County Drug Task Force, Warren County District Attorney’s Office, Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics and federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
When the indictment was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Richards was still jailed in Chautauqua County from his April arrest.
Per a filing from the DOJ, the sentence range for the Pennsylvania-related charge is “not less than 10 years” and up to life. The same sentence range was noted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in its news release.
Richards’ name previously came up in Warren County Court in a hearing regarding a Russell woman, who also is facing charges for the seizure of methamphetamine from her North Main Street apartment earlier this year.
Two controlled buys were allegedly undertaken from the residence, both of which were coordinated with Richards. Additional testimony indicated that each buy was for about half a pound.
The most recent complaint is the result of a joint investigation by the Jamestown Police Department Drug Task Force, the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Warren County Drug Task Force.