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Press Release

Parolee Detained on Firearm, MDMA Trafficking Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A West Warwick resident, currently on parole after having been convicted and sentenced in Rhode Island state court in October 2008 on felony assault, robbery and firearm charges, was ordered detained in federal custody today for allegedly possessing and trafficking the synthetic drug MDMA, and for being a felon in possession of firearms.

Devon Mello, 26, of West Warwick, arrested earlier today by members of the ATF Task Force, with the assistance of the West Warwick Police Department and the DEA, was ordered detained in federal custody following his initial appearance before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond on a criminal complaint charging him with three counts of distribution of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), one count of possession with the intent to distribute MDMA, and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Mello’s arrest and criminal complaint are announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of ATF, and West Warwick Police Chief Colonel Richard G. Silva.

According to court documents, on February 26, 2016, an ATF special agent acting in an undercover capacity, allegedly met with Mello in a parking lot near his residence to discuss interest in committing armed robberies. Mello allegedly informed the agent that he not only was in possession of a firearm on his person, but that he had access to other firearms, including an AR-15 assault rifle and a shotgun. Prior to leaving Mello’s company, the agent allegedly purchased from Mello 2.7 grams of MDMA in exchange for $80.

On March 1, 2016, after having exchange numerous text messages with Mello during the two previous days, the undercover agent allegedly met with Mello in a parking lot near Mello’s residence to discuss the purchase of firearms. Prior to the end of the meeting, the undercover agent allegedly purchased 9.8 grams of MDMA from Mello for $270. Mello allegedly instructed the agent to stay in touch with him to learn about the status of obtaining firearms.

On March 4, 2016, as allegedly instructed by Mello in a text message the day before, the agent met with Mello in a parking lot near Mello’s residence during which time Mello allegedly provided the agent with a shotgun and ammunition in exchange for $400. They allegedly met again on March 10, 2016, in a parking lot near Mello’s home, to allegedly discuss the purchase of additional firearms. Prior to the end of that meeting, the agent allegedly purchased from Mello 8.35 grams of MDMA in exchange for $225.

Earlier today, Mello was detained by ATF agents as ATF agents, members of the ATF Task Force, and West Warwick Police conducted a federal court authorized search of Mello’s residence. The search resulted in the seizure of approximately 28 grams of MDMA, a 9mm firearm, $270 in cash and various items used in the packaging and distribution of MDMA and other drugs.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to court documents, on October 16, 2008, Mello was convicted in Rhode Island state court on first degree robbery and conspiracy charges, and was sentenced to 15 years - 10 years to serve and the remainder suspended - and 5 years of probation. On the same date, Mello was convicted on two counts of felony assault and two counts of discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, and was sentenced to a concurrent sentence of 20 years of incarceration - 15 years to serve and 5 years suspended - and 5 years of probation. Mello has been on parole since the fall of 2015.  

At the time of his arrest, Mello, who was subject to home confinement, was wearing a GPS electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.

The case in federal court is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The ATF Task Force consists of agents and officers from Providence, Cranston and Central Falls Police Departments, Providence Fire Department Arson Squad, and the Rhode Island Department of Correction's Special Investigations Unit.

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Contact:

Jim Martin (401) 709-5357

email: USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

on Twitter @USAO_RI Devon Mello Complaint & Affidavit

 

Updated March 23, 2016

Topics
Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 16-22