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

June 12, 2012

Two Sentenced in Canadian Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two men have been sentenced to federal prison for trafficking benzylpiperazine, an Ecstasy-like schedule I drug, from Canada into New York and Rhode Island. Xavier Robert, 25, of Tring-Jonction, Quebec, was sentenced on Monday to 60 months in federal prison; Dennis Liriano, 49, of Providence, R.I., was sentenced on Monday to 80 months in federal prison.

Robert, a Canadian national, was detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Ellenburg Depot, New York, about 20 miles from the Canadian border, on June 17, 2009, after he retrieved a backpack containing several thousand star shaped benzylpiperazine tablets and two duffel bags containing marijuana from a roadside ditch on the Akwesasne Indian Reservation. Liriano was arrested in Providence on June 18, 2009, by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The sentences, imposed by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith were announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Chief Patrol Agent John C. Pfeifer of the U.S. Border Patrol Swanton sector; and Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of HSI.

Robert, who pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence on November 30, 2010, to conspiracy to distribute benzylpiperazine, admitted to the court that on several occasions he agreed to travel from Canada to upstate New York to pick-up drugs and then drive to the New York City area to deliver them. He admitted that he was paid $1,000 per trip for making the deliveries.

Robert admitted to the court that on June 17, 2009, he was provided directions to a convenience store in the area of the Akwesasne Indian Reservation, where he met with a person who then led him onto the reservation where the drugs had been stashed in a ditch alongside a roadway. Robert retrieved the drugs and was on his way to Providence to deliver them when his vehicle was stopped by Border Patrol agents.

After questioning by Border Patrol and HSI agents, Robert agreed to be transported in the custody of federal agents to Rhode Island and to continue to affect a drug delivery. Agents watched as Robert met with Dennis Liriano in a Providence drug store parking lot, where he was to have delivered the drugs to Liriano. Liriano was immediately detained by HSI agents.

Liriano, whose matter went to trial in U.S. District Court in Providence, was convicted by a jury on June 14, 2011, of conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute benzylpiperazine. Evidence presented at trial showed that the drugs were smuggled into the U.S. from Canada and were to have been distributed in the Providence, R.I., area.

The matter was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland.

Contact: 401-709-5357

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