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United States v. Williams

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 30, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JAMES WILLIAMS, III, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROBERT D. MARIANI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction & Procedural Background

         On May 2, 2018, a Criminal Complaint was filed against James Williams, III. (Doc. 1). Defendant was arrested by DEA agents the following day. Williams was thereafter indicted on May 8, 2018 on the following charges: Conspiracy to Distribute and Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine (Count I); Distribution and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine within 1000 Feet of a School (Counts II, III); Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams and More of a Mixture and Substance Containing a Detectable Amount of Cocaine (Count IV); Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking Crime (Count V); Felon in Possession of a Firearm (Count VI); Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number (Count VII); and Possession of a Stolen Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number (Count VIII). (Indictment, Doc. 11).

         On May 10, 2018, Defendant was arraigned before Magistrate Judge Mehalchick. A detention hearing was held that same day and the Magistrate Judge ordered Williams detained pending trial (Doc. 15).

         On June 21, 2018, Defendant filed a Motion for Release Pending Trial (Doc. 20). On July 16, 2018, this Court held a hearing on the motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f). For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Defendant's Motion.

         II. Findings of Facts

         For the purposes of resolving Defendant's present motion only, the Court finds the following facts:

         Defendant is a thirty-eight year old male who was born in Brooklyn, New York. Defendant attended high school in Brooklyn until tenth grade. Defendant never earned a general equivalency diploma. He has resided in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, for the past fifteen years, and has lived with his girlfriend Ms. Schroeder for the past four years. Williams' last employment of record was working for the New York City Housing Authority in 2002.

         Williams has an infant daughter with Ms. Schroeder. Defendant also has three other children, none of whom live with him: a nine-year old daughter in Pennsylvania; an eighteen-year old daughter in Brooklyn; and a twenty-one year old daughter in Virginia. Ms. Schroeder is the mother of a six-year old daughter who lives with her and Defendant.

         Williams has two prior felony drug convictions. In 2004, Defendant was charged in Virginia with manufacture, sale, and possession of a controlled substance. Defendant entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to three years imprisonment, with two years and ten months suspended. In 2015, Defendant pleaded guilty in Monroe County Court of Common Pleas to Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession with Intent to Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance, and to Possession of a Controlled Substance by Person Not Registered and served 11 months in prison. Defendant was released from custody on September 6, 2016, and was on supervised release until March, 2018.

         In May, 2018, Defendant was charged in the present case with an eight count indictment.

         Prior to the filing of the indictment, the police conducted two controlled purchases of cocaine, one of which was audio recorded. In both instances Williams was surveilled by law enforcement officers, once coming from the residence where Williams lived with Ms. Schroeder and once returning to this same residence.

         Following the two controlled purchases, a search warrant was obtained. The search of Defendant's residence yielded the seizure of over 600 grams of cocaine, found in a bag on a counter in the apartment. The police also seized a loaded Rossi Interarms .357 handgun, a loaded Walther P22 handgun, and a Smith & Wesson .380 handgun. Although the serial number on the Walther P22 handgun was obliterated, the F.B.I, was able to run a search on the gun, which had been reported stolen in 2010. The police also recovered over $21, 000 in cash and, among other items, a digital scale, packaging materials consisting of baggies, and multiple cell phones.

         After being advised of his Miranda rights, on video, Defendant confessed to dealing cocaine, admitted the cocaine and the cash found in the residence were ...


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