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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Armed Drug Dealer Sentenced to Five Years and a Day in Prison

PROVIDENCE – An armed Pawtucket heroin dealer has been sentenced to five years and one day in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Pawtucket Police Chief Tina Goncalves, and Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division Brian D. Boyle.

Leoner J. Leonardo, 23, was arrested by Pawtucket Police in July 2017, following a two-month investigation into Leonardo’s drug trafficking activities. The investigation included at least 17 controlled purchases of heroin, ten of which he was charged with, totaling approximately 36.67 grams of heroin.

According to information presented to the Court, on July 11, 2017, Pawtucket Police, with the assistance of members of the Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force, executed a court-authorized search of Leonardo’s residence. Leonardo was located inside a locked upstairs bedroom.  He refused verbal commands to open the door and officers and agents made a forced entry. Leonardo was found next to a mattress on the floor of the bedroom and was arrested. On the mattress, approximately two feet away from Leonardo, was a loaded 25-caliber semi-automatic pistol with an obliterated serial number. The firearm safety lever was off and the hammer was cocked back, ready to fire.

Law enforcement also seized approximately 18.94 grams of heroin from the residence which was packaged or being packaged for distribution and a small amount of cash.

Leonardo pleaded guilty in federal court on June 27, 2018, to conspiracy to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin, possession with intent to distribute heroin, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. At sentencing, in addition to a term of incarceration of five years and one day, U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith also ordered Leonardo to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison sentence.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald R. Gendron.

The matter was investigated by the Pawtucket Police Department, with the assistance of members of the Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force.

The Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force is comprised of law enforcement personnel from the DEA, Rhode Island State Police, and East Providence, Central Falls, Coventry, Cranston, Newport, North Kingstown, Pawtucket, Providence, South Kingstown, Warwick, West Warwick and Woonsocket Police Departments.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
19-29
Updated March 27, 2019