Johnston Man Sentenced To Four Years In Federal Prison On Firearms And Drug Trafficking Charges
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Anthony Cucinotta, 28, of Johnston, R.I., was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Providence today to 48 months in federal prison and fined $5,000 for growing marijuana in his home with the intent to sell it, and being a felon in possession of a semi-automatic pistol and an assault rifle, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Eugenio A. Marquez, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Boston Field Office.
U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith also ordered Cucinotta to serve 3 years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. Cucinotta pleaded guilty on October 23, 2012, to one count of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Cucinotta had previously been convicted in Rhode Island state court of a felony offense punishable by a term of imprisonment of greater than one year.
At the time of his guilty plea, Cucinotta admitted to the court that on November 25, 2011, he accompanied his girlfriend to a gun shop in Rhode Island where they selected two firearms for purchase, a Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a Bushmaster .223 caliber military assault style rifle, and a 100 round ammunition drum magazine for the assault rifle. Cucinotta failed to disclose his previous felony conviction and told the dealer that there was no legal reason why he could not possess firearms. Cucinotta, nonetheless, had his girlfriend act as a straw-purchaser for him and complete the paperwork for the transaction. On later dates, Cucinotta admitted to an employee of the gun shop and to an ATF agent that the firearms were his.
According to information presented to the court, on February 14, 2012, ATF agents conducted a court authorized search of Cucinotta’s home and seized the Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol, twenty-one marijuana plants, and items used in the packaging and sale of marijuana. Cucinotta had previously turned the assault rifle over to an employee of the gun store, who, at the request of ATF, led Cucinotta to believe that the weapon may be defective. The assault rifle was never returned to Cucinotta.
Cucinotta made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court on February 17, 2012, and was freed on $10,000 unsecured bond. At today’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge William E. Smith ordered Cucinotta to self-surrender by May 15, 2013, to begin serving his prison term.
The firearms and ammunition seized in this matter have been forfeited to the U.S. Government and will be destroyed.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Milind M. Shah, Stephen G. Dambruch and Paul F. Daly, Jr.
The matter was investigated by agents from ATF, with the assistance of the Johnston Police Department.