PROVIDENCE, RI. – Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the New England Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced a federal criminal complaint and supporting affidavit unsealed in U.S. District Court in Providence detail the alleged participation of a Central Falls, R.I., man in a conspiracy to arrange for a drug runner from Rhode Island to travel to England and then Aruba to allegedly traffic between five and seven kilograms of cocaine from Aruba to England. As part of the alleged conspiracy, Gustavo Querido, 35, allegedly offered a local person $8,000 in cash to make the trip to London and the Caribbean to traffic the cocaine.
According to the affidavit on file with the U.S. District Court, Querido was allegedly contacted by a person in England last summer to arrange for a person to travel from Boston to England and then on to Aruba to pick up a suitcase which would contain the drugs, and then transport the suitcase back to England. The runner would be paid $8,000 in cash for transporting the suitcase; Querido would be paid $10,000 for locating a drug runner and making flight and passport arrangements for that person.
According to the affidavit, Querido was sent money to purchase the airline tickets and to pay associated fees with obtaining a passport for the drug runner by a person in England. Querido told police he spent that money, and instead used his mother’s credit card to cover the airline expenses. The person he allegedly arranged with to travel to England and Aruba was denied access to board a flight from Boston in October because the ticket was for a one-way flight only. When they arrived back in Rhode Island Querido was detained on an unrelated state charge. A federal arrest warrant on the drug charge was issued January 24. Querido made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence on Wednesday and was ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Martin.
A criminal complaintis merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Querido faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, and up to life in federal prison.
The matter was investigated by the DEA Drug Task Force and Pawtucket Police. The drug task force is comprised of agents and law enforcement officers from the DEA, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Rhode Island State Police, and Cranston, East Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Newport, Warwick and Woonsocket Police Departments.