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News Release
U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island

June 15, 2011

U.S. ATTORNEY, ATF, WOONSOCKET POLICE INVESTIGATION TARGETS
VIOLENT FELONS, IILEGAL FIREARMS AND DRUGS
Two-year pro-active investigation leads to 16 arrests on federal charges;
seizure of 37 firearms, crack cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy pills and acid

            WOONSOCKET, R.I. - A two-year joint investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Woonsocket Police Department Special Squad targeting illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking throughout the city of Woonsocket has resulted in federal charges against sixteen defendants, the seizure of more than three dozen illegal firearms, and the seizure of substantial amounts of crack cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy pills and hits of acid. The investigation also resulted in the arrest of two defendants on state charges.

            In addition to targeting illegal firearms and drug dealing in Woonsocket, the collaboration between ATF agents and Woonsocket detectives is aimed at developing intelligence related to two drug related homicides which occurred in 2008 in Woonsocket.  It is believed that these murders were caused by rivalries between local armed drug dealing crews.

The investigations and arrests were announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Guy N. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Boston Field Office; Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin; and Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas S. Carey.

This joint law enforcement operation arose from an effort to prioritize targets posing the greatest threat to the residents of Woonsocket.  The target list included individuals who, according to Woonsocket Police, were compromising the quality of life in various Woonsocket neighborhoods by dealing drugs, invading homes, and selling and possessing guns.   

“It is often the case that a relatively small number of individuals are causing the greatest threat to the safety of our neighborhoods,” noted United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha.  “Targeting the worst of the worst, as was done here, can have a great impact.  Joint operations such as these, involving federal agents and state and local police, and federal and state prosecutors, always yield the best results.”

“Guns, drugs and violence plague cities across the country” stated Guy N. Thomas, Special Agent In Charge of ATF’s Boston Field Division.  “Because of the dedicated efforts of many the city of Woonsocket is a safer place today.  I would like to thank the Woonsocket Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their hard work and cooperation during this investigation.   ATF will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to make our neighborhoods safe.”

“Working cooperatively, we are able to take violent criminals off our streets and out of our communities,” said Attorney General Kilmartin.  “I commend the excellent investigative work of the ATF and Woonsocket Police. Their efforts have improved the safety of the residents of Woonsocket and our state.”

“This entire investigation was very important for the citizens of Woonsocket. Not only did it take guns and drugs off the streets, but also those who were illegally selling them,” said Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas W. Carey.  “It was a great example of community policing by demonstrating the successful partnership of ATF, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Woonsocket Police Department and the Woonsocket Prevention Coalition by pro-active problem solving to address this type of criminal activity in order to improve the community’s quality of life.”  

Chief Carey added, “The Woonsocket Police Department will continue to engage in these partnerships and is committed to providing quality policing to the community.  I encourage residents of Woonsocket to be our partners too and if they have any information that can make our city safer that they call the Tip Line, (401) 769-4444.”
 
The operation began with the investigation into a Woonsocket based crew which had allegedly committed several home invasions. That effort led to the arrest, indictment and federal conviction of three Woonsocket men, Julio Candelario; Robert Beauparlant, Jr.; and Pedro Cuadrado, for a Providence home invasion and drug rip-off.  Candelario and Beauparlant were sentenced to 180 months in federal prison. Cuadrado was sentenced to 111 months in federal prison.

The next phase of the operation targeted gun suppliers and narcotics dealers in and around Woonsocket public housing developments, which has resulted in a multitude of arrests, indictments, convictions and pending federal and state court cases. The investigation has utilized varying investigative techniques and sources, which has resulted in the undercover purchase of 37 firearms, including an AK-47 and four firearms stolen in residential burglaries. In addition, numerous undercover drug purchases have resulted in the seizure of substantial amounts of crack cocaine, marijuana, acid and ecstasy pills. 

The most recent arrest, the sixteenth, occurred last Friday when ATF agents and Woonsocket Police arrested Robert O. Robinson, 29, of Woonsocket, on narcotics charges. Robinson is already on federal supervised release for a previous federal conviction for crack cocaine distribution. He was ordered detained after making an initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Monday. A Criminal Complaint 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.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gerard B. Sullivan and Richard W. Rose

Following a news conference to announce the joint investigation and arrests, U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin presented plaques and citations to the twenty-four federal, state and local investigators who teamed up and continue to work together in Woonsocket. The recognition acknowledges their outstanding efforts in protecting the citizens of Woonsocket.

 

###

DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT

Robert P. Beauparlant, Jr., Age 27
Woonsocket, RI

Indictment Date
May 13, 2009

Charges
Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery (Three Counts)
Hobbs Act Robbery (One Count)
Use and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence (Three Counts)
Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (One Count)
Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (One Count)
*(Four Counts Dismissed: Use/Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence (Two Counts); and Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery (Two Counts))*

Status
Sentenced on February 15, 2011
180 months imprisonment
$2,800 restitution (joint and several with co-defendants)
5 years supervised release

Indictment Date
April 15, 2009

Charge
Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Status
Sentenced on February 15, 2011
96 months imprisonment (concurrent to previously listed case)
5 years supervised release

 

Pedro L. Cuadrado, Age 22
Woonsocket, RI

Indictment Date
May 13, 2009
November 25, 2009 (SUPERSEDING INDICTMENT)

Charges
Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery (One Count)
Hobbs Act Robbery (One Count)
Use and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence (Two Counts)
Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (One Count)
Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (One Count)
*(One Count Dismissed: Use/Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence (One Count))*

Status
Sentenced on February 15, 2011
111 months imprisonment
$2,800 restitution (joint and several with co-defendants)
5 years supervised release

Julio Candelario, Age 31
Woonsocket, RI

Indictment Date
May 13, 2009
November 25, 2009 (SUPERSEDING INDICTMENT)

Charges
Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery (One Count)
Hobbs Act Robbery (One Count)
Use and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence (Two Counts)
Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (One Count)
Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (One Count)
*(One Count Dismissed: Use/Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence (One Count))*

Status
Sentenced on February 15, 2011
180 months imprisonment (concurrent with case below)
$2,800 restitution (joint and several with co-defendants)
5 years supervised release      

Indictment Date
November 25, 2009

Charges
Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Status
Sentenced on February 15, 2011
96 months imprisonment
3 years supervised release

Marquis Brewster, Age 26
Woonsocket, RI

            Indictment Date
October 20, 2010

            Charges
Felon in Possession of a Firearm

            Status
Change of Plea scheduled for June 27, 2011

 

Tammy Cardinal-Ghannam, Age 46
Woonsocket, RI

            Indictment Date
October 20, 2010

            Charges
Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (Two Counts)
Distribution of Cocaine (Two Counts)

            Status
Pled guilty to all charged on April 14, 2011
Sentencing scheduled for September 1, 2011

Marcus Lee Mobley, Age 42
Woonsocket, RI

            Indictment Date
October 20, 2010

            Charges
Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (One Count)
Distribution of Cocaine (One Count)

            Status
CASE PENDING

Mario L. Curet, Age 35
Woonsocket, RI

            Information Date
Complaint filed on 12/17/10
Information filed on 3/10/11

            Charges
Dealing Firearms without a License

            Status
Pled guilty on April 1, 2011
Sentencing scheduled for August 4, 2011

Kyle S. Minot, Age 21
Woonsocket, RI

            Indictment Date
October 13, 2010

            Charges
Unlawful Dealing in Firearms (One Count)
Possession of a Stolen Firearm (One Count)

            Status
Pled guilty to all charges on May 19, 2011
Sentencing scheduled for September 9, 2011

Felix Nieves, Age 42
Woonsocket, RI

            Indictment Date
October 13, 2010

            Charges
Felon in Possession of Body Armor (One Count)
Felon in Possession of a Firearm (One Count)

            Status
Pled guilty to all charges on April 5, 2011
Sentence scheduled for August 18, 2011

 

Anthony Otero, Age 39
Bronx, NY

            Indictment Date
October 13, 2010

            Charges
Felon in Possession of a Firearm (Eight Counts)
Possession of a Firearm Not Registered (One Count)

            Status
CASE PENDING

James Q. Perry, Age 47
Woonsocket, RI

            Indictment Date
October 13, 2010

            Charges
Felon in Possession of a Firearm
Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine
Distribution of Cocaine (One Count)

Status
Pled guilty to all charges on April 4, 2011
Sentencing scheduled for August 8, 2011

Lisa M. Winston, Age 42
Woonsocket, RI

            Indictment Date
October 13, 2010

            Charges
Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine (One Count)
Distribution of Cocaine (One Count)

            Status
Bench trial decision on April 7, 2011, guilty on all charges
Sentencing scheduled for June 30, 2011

Manuel Sanchez-Cruz, Age 30
Woonsocket, RI

            Indictment Date
December 15, 2010

            Charge
Felon in Possession of a Firearm

            Status
Pled guilty on April 4, 2011
Sentencing scheduled for August 4, 2011

Rickey L. Stevenson, Age 20
Pawtucket, RI

            Indictment Date
December 15, 2010

            Charges
Possession of a Sawed-Off Shotgun Not Registered (Two Counts)

            Status
Pled guilty to all charges on April 15, 2011
Sentencing scheduled for July 7, 2011

Aaron M. Swan, Age 23
Woonsocket, RI

            Indictment Date
October 13, 2010

            Charges
Felon in Possession of a Firearm (Three Counts)
Distribution of Cocaine (Two Counts)

            Status
CASE PENDING

Contact: 401-709-5357
USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

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