Florida Man Sentenced in Puerto Rico to Rhode Island Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
PROVIDENCE – The second of two Florida men charged with participating in a conspiracy to, on multiple occasions, traffic multi-kilogram shipments of cocaine through the U.S. Postal Service from Puerto Rico into Rhode Island has been sentenced to 84 months in federal prison.
Gabriel Concepcion, 29, of Kissimmee, FL, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence in October 2019 to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., sentenced Conception to 84 months imprisonment to be followed by a term of supervised release of four years.
A co-defendant in this matter, Rinaxo M. Rufino, 34, of Miramar, FL, was sentenced on January 18, 2019, to 36 months in federal prison to be followed by 2 years of supervised release. Rufino pleaded guilty on September 12, 2018, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
The sentences are announced by United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Joseph W. Cronin, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division Brian D. Boyle, and Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police Colonel James M. Manni.
According to court documents and information presented to the Court, Concepcion conspired with Rufino to receive at least three multi-kilogram shipments of cocaine shipped through the U.S. Postal Service from Puerto Rico to residences in Central Falls and Cumberland. Each shipment contained approximately three kilograms of cocaine.
The packages were intercepted and seized by U.S. Postal Inspectors prior to delivery to the intended recipients. The two men were arrested on August 26, 2017, by U.S. Postal Inspectors agents, members of the Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, and members of the Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force.
Rufino was taken into custody when he attempted to retrieve a package containing 3,029 grams of cocaine addressed to a Central Falls residence. U.S. Postal Inspectors identified cocaine in the package prior to delivery and removed the controlled substance. In its place inspectors placed similarly weighted non-contraband material. Concepcion was arrested moments later in the vicinity of the Central Falls residence.
Additionally, during the investigation into Concepcion and Rufino’s drug trafficking activities, a package addressed for delivery to a residence in Cumberland that contained approximately 3007.2 grams of cocaine was seized by Postal Inspectors on August 25, 2017. Another package addressed for delivery to a Central Falls residence which contained approximately 3006.9 grams of cocaine was seized by Postal Inspectors on August 28, 2017.
The cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul F. Daly, Jr. and Milind M. Shah.
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.
The HIDTA Task Force is managed by the Rhode Island State Police and is comprised of members of the Pawtucket, West Warwick, Lincoln, and Middletown Police Departments, ATF, DEA, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, Rhode Island Department of Corrections, and Analysts from the Rhode Island National Guard.