Mercer, an officer with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller on Friday, and Richardson made his initial appearance Monday. Mercer was placed on home detention and ordered to pay a $75,000 cash bond pending trial. Richardson was detained pending his detention hearing Wednesday.
Barry and Haynes were arrested earlier and detained pending trial.
According to the indictment, Richardson, Barry and Haynes conspired with Neal Chesterfield, former bodyguard of Gov. Kenneth Mapp, to possess with intent to distribute approximately 136 kilograms of cocaine beginning on or about Dec. 15, 2014, through Sept. 3, 2016. Earlier, the indictment says, Mercer, Barry and Chesterfield conspired to possess with intent to distribute 125 kilograms of cocaine beginning on or about Jan. 1, 2011, through Dec. 15, 2014.
Chesterfield pleaded guilty Dec. 6, 2016, and is detained pending sentencing.
If convicted, each of the men charged in the indictment faces a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years and not more than life, and a fine of up to $10 million.
This case results from an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) joint investigation conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Delia Smith.