PROVIDENCE – Timothy J. Valle, 37, of Franklin, MA, made an initial appearance before a U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge in Providence today, charged after an investigation determined that he allegedly traded firearms, at least one from which the serial numbers had been obliterated, in exchange for fentanyl.
The firearm was seized by Pawtucket Police from Jonathan Reyes, 34, of Pawtucket, during a traffic stop on October 14, 2020. Reyes’ car was stopped by Pawtucket Police when officers noted that Reyes was allegedly not wearing a seat belt and that Virginia plates affixed to the car were registered to a different vehicle. During a search of the vehicle officers allegedly discovered a loaded Sig Sauer semi-automatic handgun with an obliterated serial number, the same firearm Valle allegedly traded to an individual other than Reyes in exchange for $1,000 worth of fentanyl.
Valle’s alleged criminal conduct came to the attention of law enforcement when the FBI executed a search warrant on a cellular telephone seized during a recent FBI investigation that resulted in the indictment of nine individuals for allegedly participating in schemes in several states to steal and sell nearly $700,000 worth of excavators, sport boats, jet skis, all-terrain vehicles, and trailers.
It is alleged in court documents that Valle texted pictures of the firearm to the person with whom he later traded with for the fentanyl. The firearm, with its serial numbers “washed,” or obliterated, was later confiscated from Reyes.
According to court documents, ATF agents determined that Valle lawfully purchased several firearms from licensed dealers in Massachusetts. As a result of the ongoing investigation into Valle’s alleged criminal activity and drug use, ATF agents, with the assistance of Franklin, MA, police seized several firearms from Valle’s residence. Pictures of a firearm that matched the firearm seized from Reyes were allegedly located on Valle’s cellphone.
Valle self-surrendered today and appeared before U.S. District Court Magistrate Patricia A. Sullivan on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of ATF Kelly D. Brady.
A federal criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William J. Ferland and Ly T. Chin.
Valle’s alleged criminal conduct was investigated by ATF, with the assistance of the FBI, Rhode Island State Police, and the Franklin, MA, Police Department.