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Press Release

Career Offender Sentenced to Six Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE – A 37-year-old Woonsocket man previously arrested more than two dozen times and convicted on nearly four-dozen charges, including assault, domestic assault, and drug trafficking, has been sentenced to six years in federal prison for his leadership role in a drug trafficking conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.

Juan Batista was among nearly two-dozen individuals arrested and charged during an expansive investigation, initiated in January 2020by the FBI Rhode Island Safe Streets Gang Task Force that targeted sources of supplies and suppliers of drugs and firearms across Rhode Island.

According to information presented to the court, not long after he was released from prison for trafficking in narcotics, and while still serving an eleven-year term of probation, Batista rebuilt his drug trafficking business in and around Woonsocket. His resumed drug trafficking activities included trafficking in fentanyl, powder cocaine, and crack cocaine.

Between February 26, and June 23, 2020, members of the FBI Task Force surveilled at least six occasions when drug purchases were requested from, and delivered by, members of the conspiracy, at times including Batista himself. The transactions included deliveries of between 6.74 and 33.98 grams of crack cocaine and 5.3 grams of fentanyl, for between $360 and $1,800.  Law enforcement also seized over $18,000 in cash, 5 grams of cocaine, 35 grams of crack cocaine, and 120 grams of fentanyl inside a residence where Batista was living.

Batista pleaded guilty on May 5, 2021, to conspiracy to distribute 28 or more grams of cocaine base, distribution of 28 or more grams of cocaine base, and possession with intent to distribute 40 or more grams of fentanyl. He was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., to 72 months in federal prison to be followed by four years of federal supervised release.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine D. Lowell.

The Rhode Island FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force consists of agents and law enforcement officers from the FBI, United States Marshals Service, Central Falls Police Department, Cranston Police Department, Pawtucket Police Department, Providence Police Department, West Warwick Police Department, Woonsocket Police Department, and Rhode Island State Police.

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Contact

Jim Martin
(401) 709-5357

Updated March 16, 2023

Topic
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 23-33