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

June 21, 2012

Woonsocket Man Convicted in Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy

Robert Robinson faces 20 years to life in federal prison

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Robert O. Robinson, 30, of Woonsocket, convicted by a federal court jury on Wednesday of conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and ten counts of distribution of crack cocaine, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years and up to life in federal prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi on September 20, 2012.

Robinson and four other Woonsocket residents were indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2011 for their participation in a crack cocaine trafficking conspiracy, which was run out of a Woonsocket bar operated by Robinson. Robinson was on federal supervised release on a previous federal conviction for trafficking crack cocaine when he was arrested in June 2011.

The four co-defendants in this matter, Tonia J. Rawlinson, 32; Jason Roman, 36; Courtney Desrochers, 22, and Richard E. Marks, 25, all of Woonsocket, previously pleaded guilty in federal court and are awaiting sentencing.

The drug trafficking conspiracy was uncovered during a joint investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Woonsocket Police during an unrelated firearms and drug investigation in Woonsocket. That investigation led to the arrest of sixteen individuals and the seizure of more than three-dozen firearms.

Robinson’s conviction was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Guy N. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Boston Field Division; and Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas S. Carey.

According to evidence presented to the jury, Robinson led the drug trafficking conspiracy out of Talus Bar in Woonsocket. During the course of a three-month investigation, a confidential informant would go to the bar and place orders for crack cocaine. The evidence presented to the jury showed that the drugs would be delivered by Robinson or one of his co-defendants. Many of the transactions were electronically recorded.

“Yesterday’s jury verdict ensures that another full service drug dealer preying on the neighborhoods of one of Rhode Island’s great, historic cities will be in federal prison for no less than twenty years. He is not alone. The investigation, arrest and successful federal prosecution of this defendant, and of the nearly two-dozen people taken off the streets of Woonsocket over the past two years for drug and gun crimes, are perfect examples of the impact that law enforcement partnerships bring to bear which make our neighborhoods safer,” said U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. “I commend the Woonsocket Police Department, ATF and the prosecutors who worked tirelessly on these investigations and prosecutions. I particularly thank Chief Thomas Carey for the confidence he placed in federal law enforcement in requesting our assistance to work alongside his officers to make a significant impact on drug and firearm crimes.”

Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas S. Carey noted, “For Woonsocket and Rhode Island there is good news - a violent criminal, Robert Orlando Robinson, will be confined to prison for at least 20 years.  His incarceration is the result of a federal and local effort to get violent and drug dealing criminals off of our streets and to make our communities safer.  It was a great team effort.  Kudos to the investigators and to the prosecutors.”

“Yesterday’s verdict should send a strong message to those who choose a life of drugs, guns and violence” stated Guy Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Boston Field Division. “ATF is committed to working with our local, state and federal partners to keep our neighborhoods safe.”    

Robinson has been detained since his arrest.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.

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

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