FEB 01 (PROVIDENCE, R.I.) – John J. Arvanitis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced Andrew Rios, 41, of California, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Providence to 188 months in federal prison on drug trafficking charges. Rios was arrested in January 2011 in connection with the seizure of 65 kilos of cocaine and more than $1.2 million in cash, the single largest seizure of cocaine in Rhode Island.
U.S District Court Judge William E. Smith also ordered Rios to serve 5 years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. Rios pleaded guilty on October 1, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one count of possessing with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
Two other defendants who were arrested with Rios previously pleaded guilty to trafficking charges and have been sentenced to lengthy federal prison sentences. Armando Saucedo, 33, of California, was sentenced on November 1, 2012, to 156 months in prison; Adilson A. Reyes, 31, of Utah, was sentenced November 5, 2012, to 135 months in prison.
Beginning in September 2010, federal, state and local law enforcement agents, working in conjunction with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office, developed information about the trafficking of cocaine from outside of Rhode Island into the state. As a result, law enforcement monitored activity at hotels in West Greenwich and Pawtucket, at a storage facility in North Kingstown, and several vehicles. In January 2011, law enforcement agents executed court authorized searches of the storage facility in North Kingstown and of two vehicles. Authorities seized 65 kilos of cocaine, $1.2 million in cash and a firearm.