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Press Release

Dominican National Admits Trafficking Fentanyl After Illegally Re-Entering the United States

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

PROVIDENCE – A Dominican national deported in August 2016 to his native Dominican Republic after having been arrested twice for drug trafficking, and who later re-entered the United States illegally, pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence on Wednesday to trafficking fentanyl and illegal re-entry into the United States.

Franklin Carlos Soto, 33, admitted to a federal court judge that he sold an individual approximately 50 grams of fentanyl for $2,500 on June 9 and again on June 18, 2020, and that he sold the same individual approximately 25 grams of fentanyl for $1,250 on June 25, 2020.

According to information presented to the court, during the June 9th  transaction which took place in Soto’s residence, the individual purchasing fentanyl from Soto observed Soto take the fentanyl from a larger bag of suspected fentanyl. Soto told the individual that he had sold 800 grams the prior day.  During the arrangements for the June 25th  delivery of fentanyl, Soto offered to sell crack cocaine to the individual.

On July 2, 2020, members of the SSTF arrested Soto and executed a federal court-authorized search warrant at Soto’s residence and at a second Providence residence used by Soto as a stash house. Agents and officers seized a total of approximately 136 grams of fentanyl and a loaded 9mm ammo clip.

Fingerprints taken from Soto upon his arrest confirmed his identity as Franklin Carlos Soto.  The investigation revealed that Soto had been living in RI under the name of Luis E. Sanchezsoto.  In a prior encounter with law enforcement in January 2020, Soto falsely identified himself to Rhode Island State Police as Luis Sanchezsoto, producing a Dominican Republic driver’s license in that name.

Appearing on Wednesday before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith, Franklin Carlos Soto pleaded guilty to three counts of distribution of fentanyl, possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute fentanyl, possession of ammunition by an illegal alien, and illegal re-entry, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta.

Soto, who has been detained since his arrest on July 2, 2020, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 13, 2021. An immigration detainer has been lodged against Soto by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey P. Veroni.

United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta thank the DEA and the Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Area Task Force for their assistance in the investigation of this matter.



Jim Martin
(401) 709-5357

Updated February 25, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 21-20