U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
August 23, 2011
5 INDICTED, ARRAIGNED FOR CONSPIRACY,
DRUG TRAFFICKING IN WOONSOCKET
Drug trafficking charges an outgrowth of ATF, Woonsocket Police ongoing investigation announced in June that netted sixteen arrests and seizure of 37 firearms & narcotics
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A federal grand jury last Wednesday returned an eleven-count sealed indictment charging five Woonsocket residents with conspiracy and drug trafficking. The indictment, announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Guy N. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Boston field office; and Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas S. Carey, was sought by U.S. Attorney Neronha on information and evidence gathered by ATF agents and Woonsocket Police in an ongoing investigation targeting illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking in the city of Woonsocket.
In June, federal, state and local law enforcement joined together to publicly disclose the investigation, and the arrest of 16 individuals and the seizure of more than three dozen firearms from the streets of Woonsocket. The investigation is continuing.
The Indictment alleges that between February and June of 2011, Robert O. Robinson, 29; Tonia J. Rawlinson, 33; Jason Roman, 35; Courtney S. Desrochers, 21; and Richard E. Marks, 24, all of Woonsocket, conspired to posses with the intent to distribute and did possess and distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine.
Robinson has been detained since his arrest in June on a charge of possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. At the time of his arrest, Robinson was on federal supervised release for a previous federal conviction for distributing crack cocaine. Because of a previous federal drug conviction, if convicted on charges contained in Wednesday’s Indictment Robinson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Arrest warrants were issued for Tonia Rawlinson, Jason Roman, Courtney Desrochers and Richard Marks. Roman was ordered detained and Desrochers released on bond following their arraignments on Thursday; Marks was arraigned on Monday and ordered detained; Rawlinson was arraigned today and released on bond. If convicted, Rawlinson, Roman, Desrochers and Marks face mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years in federal prison, the penalty for distributing or conspiring to distribute more than 280 grams of cocaine base.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard W. Rose and Ly T. Chin.
An Indictment is 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.