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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ohio Man Pleads Guilty in Rhode Island to Trafficking Heroin

PROVIDENCE, RI – An Ohio man who traveled to Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York City to participate in a conspiracy to traffic heroin imported from Guatemala through Mexico and into Rhode Island and elsewhere pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence today to trafficking heroin.

Michael Miller, 39, of Cincinnati, OH, pleaded guilty as charged by way of an indictment to one count each of conspiracy to distribute heroin and use of a communication device (cellphone) facilitating drug trafficking, announced United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police Colonel Ann C. Assumpico and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh.

            Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, Miller admitted to the Court that at least from about April 2016, to May 23, 2016, he was in regular telephone communication with a Massachusetts woman, Olga Lidia Sandoval, and others, to arrange for the purchase of significant quantities of heroin from suppliers in Guatemala for the purpose of distributing it. Miller admitted to the Court that he travelled to Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York City to meet with members of the conspiracy, and to take possession of and make payment for significant quantities of heroin. Miller admitted that on at least one occasion he provided an individual in New York City $50,000 in cash for the purpose of transferring the money to heroin suppliers in Guatemala as payment for a kilogram of heroin.

            According to information presented to the Court, Miller’s drug trafficking activities came to the attention of law enforcement during extensive investigations into Sandoval’s and others’ drug trafficking activities. The investigations, which began in November 2015, included the use of electronic surveillance and the interception of telephone communications. 

            Olga Sandoval and a co-conspirator, Jose Luis Amparo Nova, 33, of North Providence, R.I., were indicted by a federal grand jury on June 16, 2016. Sandoval pleaded guilty on May 1, 2017, and Nova pleaded guilty on January 26, 2017, to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin and possession with the intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin. Sandoval was sentenced on June 29, 2107, to 84 months in federal prison. Nova was sentenced on July 18, 2017, to 48 months in federal prison.

Miller, who has been detained since being taken into federal custody in Cincinnati, OH, in July 2017, is scheduled to be sentenced on August 22, 2018.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald R. Gendron.

The cases were investigated by the Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
18-49
Updated May 10, 2018