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Feds: York man trafficked drugs, threatened cop, had illegal guns

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Shanquay D. Ritter

A York City man who was previously questioned about two city homicides and who had been suspected by police of involvement in several shootings is now indicted in federal court and locked up as a danger to society.

A federal grand jury Jan. 8 indicted Shanquay D. Ritter on drug trafficking and firearms charges, according to federal court records.

Ritter, 23, also was indicted for allegedly threatening a federal official. The indictment alleges Ritter threatened and tried to intimidate York City Police Detective Paul DeHart "while he was engaged in the performance of his official duties."

As part of his detective duties, DeHart serves as a task force officer with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Ritter was arraigned in Harrisburg's federal court Jan. 16 on charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and fentanyl; being a felon in illegal possession of a firearm; possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking; and influencing a federal official by threat.

His indictment provides no specific details about his alleged crimes.

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Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office asked that bail be denied to Ritter, arguing that he is facing a possible life sentence if convicted and is a danger to society, a flight risk and remains in custody on other matters, according to court records.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson ordered Ritter remain in custody pending trial, court records state.

In denying bail, Carlson noted that Ritter is subject to a long prison term if convicted, has a prior criminal history, participated in criminal activity while on probation or parole, has a history of violence or use of weapons, has a history of substance abuse and has in the past violated his probation/parole conditions, according to the judge's order.

Federal public defender Ari Weitzman declined comment on his client's behalf.

York County charges: Ritter has been in York County Prison since April 27 on county probation violations and on a York County case in which he remains charged with being a felon in illegal possession of a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license and two counts of drug dealing.

The York Dispatch last wrote about Ritter in 2018, when he was a fugitive from justice who was captured after a chaotic vehicle chase through morning rush-hour traffic.

Ritter eventually was forced to abandon his failing vehicle and take off on foot, running through mud, creeks and a swampy area to get away on Aug. 15, 2018, police have said.

He was captured in a marshy area while trying to climb over a fence along Interstate 83 near the border of Springettsbury and Spring Garden townships, court documents state.

He was wanted because he cut off the GPS-monitoring ankle cuff he was required to wear as a condition of bail on an earlier criminal case, according to court documents.

Shanquay Ritter

'Armed and dangerous': Police — who have described Ritter as armed and dangerous — announced in July 2018 that they were looking to arrest Ritter and five others with outstanding warrants as part of a general crackdown on street violence.

That was in response to six people being shot in three separate incidents in York City between July 27 and 29, 2018, police said.

Police have previously said they wanted to question Ritter about the Aug. 21, 2017, homicide of Jamere Cherry, 28, in the 200 block of East Gas Avenue, and the April 24, 2018, homicide of Nylik Roger Moore, 18, of North York.

He wasn't charged in either shooting.

Dawn Clark, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg, said Ritter's arrest was made as part of the federal Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, in which federal officials partner with local police to target violent criminals.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.