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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fall River Man Admits to Being an Armed Drug Trafficker

Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation by Newport Police resulted in the arrest of four for allegedly possessing firearms, trafficking cocaine and crack cocaine

PROVIDENCE, RI – An armed drug trafficker arrested by Newport Police during a Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation into an alleged cocaine and crack cocaine trafficking conspiracy pleaded guilty on Wednesday to federal drug trafficking and firearms charges.

Jose Martinez-Hernandez, 29, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence, as charged in a federal indictment returned in December 2017, to one count each of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and felon in possession of a firearm.

Martinez-Hernandez’s guilty plea is announced by United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, Newport Police Chief Gary T. Silva, and Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Mickey Leadingham.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation by members of the Newport Police Department in October 2017, into an alleged drug trafficking conspiracy run out of Fall River, interrupted a prearranged delivery of cocaine in Newport and led to the arrest of Hernandez and three other individuals.

 According to information presented to the Court, Newport Police detectives developed information regarding a scheduled delivery of 14 grams of cocaine for $600, on October 30, 2017. The delivery by members of an alleged drug trafficking conspiracy operating out of Fall River was to take place in the parking lot of the Newport Grand casino. Information developed by Newport Police detectives indicated that the traffickers would be travelling to the casino in two vehicles.

As the vehicles arrived in tandem and parked, Newport Police detectives surrounded the vehicles and detained the occupants. Hernandez, who was a passenger in one of the vehicles, was found to be carrying a loaded firearm and 11 grams of cocaine. A search of both vehicles and their occupants resulted in the additional seizure of two loaded firearms, 14 grams of cocaine and 37 individual bags of crack cocaine.

Also arrested, later charged by way of a federal indictment and now awaiting trial in federal court, are Antonio Oquendo Cancel, aka ”Loco,” 30, and Jorge L. Pizzaro, aka “Chino, 21, of Fall River, and Manuel C. Coradin, 38, of Cranston.

An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Martinez-Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on September 7, 2018.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted the Newport Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office with the investigation of this matter and preparing the cases for prosecution.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
18-54
Updated May 17, 2018