Luzerne County Correctional Facility counselor Louis Elmy has been charged with distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and possessing a firearm while being a habitual drug user.
The drug charge carries a fine of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. The firearm possession carries a maximum fine of $250,000 and 10 years in prison.
Elmy, 51, was arraigned Friday evening before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito Jr. at the federal courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.
The Nicholson Street resident served on the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board from 2012 through 2015 and unsuccessfully ran for Wilkes-Barre City Council last year.
It’s unclear if the charges are associated with his work at the prison because details about the case against him were not released in court and have not been posted to the online court docket.
County Correctional Services Division Head J. Allen Nesbitt said Elmy was placed on administrative leave without pay Friday when county officials were first informed of the pending charges against Elmy.
Nesbitt said federal authorities have not informed prison officials of any allegations linked to Elmy’s prison employment.
Elmy declined comment and bolted to a waiting car after his arraignment.
He requested a representation by a public defender due to his financial situation.
Saporito scheduled Elmy’s preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. March 2.
He was released with various conditions, such as a ban on traveling outside the court’s Middle District of Pennsylvania, possessing a firearm and contacting potential victims, witnesses or potential co-defendants, the judge said.
Elmy also was ordered to participate in a drug counseling or treatment program.
When he ran for city council last year, Elmy said his goals included building strong relationships with federal, state and local law enforcement to “combat the out-of-control drug trade” in Wilkes-Barre neighborhoods.
“The citizens and businesses of Wilkes-Barre deserve to feel safe in their homes and shops and on their streets,” Elmy said last year.
He has worked at the county prison for 29 years. He’s a 1982 graduate of GAR High School and received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from King’s College.
County election officials forwarded a complaint about Elmy’s campaign finance reports to the county District Attorney’s Office last November for further investigation. City resident Carl Jones lodged the complaint. Mike Butera, solicitor for the county election board, acknowledged there were “definitely discrepancies” in Elmy’s reports and said it would be up to law enforcement to decide if they rose to the level of criminal intent or intent to defraud.
Elmy had denied any intentional wrongdoing on his campaign reports and said he planned to cooperate with the investigation.