Seven are Charged in Drug Trafficking, Gang Investigation Focusing on Prospect Heights, Pawtucket
NOV 13 -- A federal grand jury has charged seven Pawtucket men with drug trafficking for allegedly selling crack cocaine in the Prospect Heights housing project. One of the defendants is also charged with a firearms violation and several are suspected of being members of a local street gang known as the Prospect Heights Posse.
United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente, June W. Stansbury Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England, and Pawtucket Police Chief George L. Kelley III jointly announced six indictments, which the grand jury returned on November 1 in U.S. District Court, Providence. The indictments were placed under seal pending the arrests of the defendants. Three of the defendants are fugitives but there indictments were unsealed yesterday.
The indictments followed a ten-month investigation by Pawtucket Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force. Teams of federal agents and Pawtucket Police officers arrested three defendants last week (One was already in custody for an unrelated charge)
Arias, Rodriguez and Torres are fugitives. The other four defendants pled not guilty at their arraignments and are detained.
An indictment is merely an allegation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Upon conviction, all of the defendants face at least ten years imprisonment, except for Kimbrough, who will face a 15-year minimum if he is deemed an armed career criminal as the government alleges.
The charges carry the following maximum penalties: distributing crack cocaine – 40 years imprisonment and a $2,000,000 fine; conspiracy to distribute and distributing more than 50 grams of crack cocaine – life imprisonment and a $4,000,000 fine.
Pawtucket Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force conducted the investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Detectives from the Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, East Providence, Warwick, Middletown and Bristol police departments are assigned to the Task Force