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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Delaware
David C. Weiss, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Wilmington Resident Sentenced to Over 11 years in Federal Prison for Drug Distribution and Firearm Possession

WILMINGTON, Del. — David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware announced that a Delaware man was sentenced on Monday to 135 months in federal prison following a jury conviction in August 2023. Chief U.S. District Judge Colm F. Connolly presided over the trial and pronounced the sentence.

The jury found that James Richard Smith III, 46, of Wilmington, sold cocaine, methamphetamine, and a firearm to a Delaware State Police undercover officer in November 2019. During trial, the government introduced audio and video evidence that Smith flaunted himself as a drug dealer, stating he could obtain whatever drugs the undercover wanted. Indeed, in November 2019, Smith sold the officer drugs on three occasions – the first of which involved not only illegal drugs but included selling the undercover officer a stolen semi-automatic rifle. During the final drug transaction, Smith sold the undercover officer over 50 grams of methamphetamine, resulting in a mandatory minimum ten-year sentence.

U.S. Attorney Weiss stated, “The combination of trafficking illegal drugs while possessing firearms is doubly dangerous. My office is committed to working alongside our law enforcement partners to combat illegal drug distribution and firearm possession within our communities. This case is a testament to the multiple law enforcement agencies who tirelessly investigated this case to ensure Mr. Smith was brought to justice.”

The case was investigated by Delaware State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Briana Knox and Samuel Frey tried the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the District of Delaware or on PACER by searching for Case No. 20-cr-26.


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