Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Wilkes-Barre Man Sentenced To 235 Months’ Imprisonment For Drug Trafficking

 SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Michael Rinaldi, age 44, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on July 23, 2021, by U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani to 235 months’ imprisonment to be followed by six years of supervised release for drug trafficking offenses.

According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Rinaldi was convicted in August 2020 after a jury trial of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute narcotics between November 2017 and August 2018, and with a specific delivery of cocaine to a government informant.  In imposing the sentence, the Court found that Rinaldi was responsible for 6 kilograms of cocaine, 1 kilogram of cocaine base, or “crack,” 15 grams of heroin, and 48 pounds of marijuana.  This was Rinaldi’s ninth adult criminal conviction, and he was most recently released in October 2017 from a 19-year term of imprisonment imposed after a 1998 arrest for drug trafficking and firearms violations. 

Two additional co-defendants, Duwayne Brown and Andrew Henry, have pleaded guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean A. Camoni is prosecuting the case.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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.

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