U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
August 23, 2012
Coventry Man Pleads Guilty to Trafficking Eighteen Firearms & Cocaine
Handguns, Shotguns, Rifles, Cocaine and Prescription Pills
Sold to ATF Agent in Undercover Sting
PROVIDENCE, R.I - Michael Collins, 39, of Coventry, pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence today to selling 18 firearms and nearly 21 grams of cocaine to an ATF undercover agent posing as a Massachusetts resident.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith, Collins pleaded guilty as charged in a nine count federal indictment returned on May 16, 2012, to seven counts of sale of firearms to an out-of-state resident and two counts of distributing cocaine. There was no plea agreement filed in this matter.
Collins, who is scheduled to be sentenced on November 30, 2012, faces up to 75 years in federal prison.
Collin’s guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Guy N. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Boston Field Division; Coventry Police Chief Bryan J. Volpe; and West Warwick Police Chief Colonel Richard Silva.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “Make no mistake about what was going on here. These gun sales were in no way legitimate. Mr. Collins knew exactly what he was doing: unlawfully selling multiple firearms to someone he had every reason to believe was involved in criminal activity. I want to thank Chief Volpe and Chief Silva for working closely with ATF and my Office to bring this illegal gun trafficker to justice.”
“I would like to thank all of the participating agencies for their efforts in this investigation” stated Guy Thomas, Special Agent In Charge of ATF’s Boston Field Division. “ATF will continue to work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to fight violent crime. We will identify, target and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”
Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith, Collins admitted that between August 12 and November 1, 2011, he met on seven occasions with an ATF undercover agent and sold him a total of 18 firearms and a significant quantity of ammunition, including handguns, rifles and shotguns of various makes and models. Collins admitted that during a one month period of time between August 12 and September 12, 2011, he sold the agent eleven firearms, including several 9mm handguns.
Collins also admitted that during the firearms sales, he sold the ATF agent a total of nearly 21 grams of cocaine and 130 prescription pills.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.
United States Attorney Peter Neronha and ATF Special Agent in Charge Guy Thomas acknowledge the efforts of the Coventry and West Warwick Police Departments in the investigation of this matter.