U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
November 3, 2009
Ten-year sentence in heroin conspiracy
A federal judge has sentenced Stiven F. Polanco, 22, of Providence, to ten years in federal prison for trafficking in heroin and possessing a gun. Polanco and David Contreras sold heroin to an undercover DEA Task Force agent, and were arrested a week later when they had arranged to sell additional heroin. Agents found a stash of heroin and a loaded handgun in a hidden compartment in Polanco’s car.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced the sentence, which U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith imposed on October 30 in U.S. District Court, Providence. Contreras pleaded guilty to his role in the heroin deals, and in September Judge Smith sentenced him to 125 months in prison.
At Polanco’s trial in June, Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Hebert presented evidence that, on December 3, 2008, an undercover agent bought 20 grams of heroin from Contreras for $1,500 at a shopping mall. Agents had observed Polanco with Contreras shortly before the deal.
The agent arranged to buy 100 grams of heroin from Contreras on December 9 for $6,500. When agents arrived at a meeting place outside a movie theater, they saw Contreras and Polanco in a car belonging to Polanco, arrested the two men, and searched the car. In a mechanized hidden compartment, agents found several packages of heroin and a loaded .45 caliber handgun. A subsequent search of an apartment linked to Polanco on Plainfield Street, Providence, turned up additional heroin and about $1,000 in cash, some of it traced to the December 3 heroin sale.
Contreras, 24, of Providence, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin, and a jury convicted Polanco of four charges related to the sale of heroin, including possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense, which added five consecutive years to Polanco’s prison sentence.