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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Former Woonsocket Man Admits to Trafficking Crack Cocaine

PROVIDENCE – A former Woonsocket man arrested by members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force during a Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation into the trafficking of crack cocaine pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence to conspiracy and drug distribution charges.

James Ruth, 31, appeared on Tuesday before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base, and four counts of distribution of cocaine base, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta.

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

According to information presented to the court, members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force arranged several controlled purchases of crack cocaine from Ruth. The purchases were electronically monitored by law enforcement. Four of the transactions took place between March 19 and April 30, 2019. During those transactions, Ruth sold between 3.2 grams and 27.42 grams of cocaine base in exchange for between $170 and $1,200.

Ruth was arrested by members of the Safe Streets Task Force on July 2, 2019. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 23, 2020.

Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base is punishable by statutory penalties of 5-40 years imprisonment and a term of 4 years to lifetime supervised release. Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base and distribution of cocaine base is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment and a term of 3 years to lifetime supervised release.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine D. Lowell and Sandra R. Hebert.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
19-136
Updated October 23, 2019