U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
February 14, 2012
Woonsocket Drug Trafficker Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Pablo Marino Chala, 46, of Woonsocket, R.I., faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison followed by a minimum of four years of supervised release when he is sentenced in May, after pleading pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence today to trafficking crack cocaine. Chala’s drug dealing activities were targeted as part of a long-term joint Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force and Woonsocket Police investigation into drug trafficking in Woonsocket.
Chala’s guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas S. Carey; and Kevin L. Lane, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New England field division of the DEA.
According to information presented to the court, Chala sold crack cocaine from his auto repair business in Woonsocket on at least three occasions, between January and June 2011. Chala admitted to the court that he sold 55.4 grams of crack cocaine on January 5, 2011; 26.2 grams on February 10, 2011; and 20.4 grams on June 28, 2011. All of the sales were to the same person and all of the transactions were monitored by DEA agents and Woonsocket Police.
Chala, a resident alien from the Dominican Republic, was arrested shortly after the third transaction was completed. He has been detained since his arrest.
Appearing today before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., Chala pled guilty to one count of distribution of 28 grams or more of crack cocaine and two counts of distribution of crack cocaine.
At sentencing on May 3, 2012, Chala faces up to 80 years in federal prison, with a minimum mandatory sentence of five years imprisonment; a term of up to lifetime supervised release, with a minimum mandatory term of four years of supervised release; and up to $7,000,000 in fines.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah.