PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Providence man today admitted in federal court that he possessed over 500 grams of cocaine and approximately 100 fentanyl pills that he intended to distribute; he also admitted that, as a convicted felon, he was illegally in the possession of various magazines of ammunition, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
Henry Arnaut, 26, charged by indictment with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, and possession of ammunition by a person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, pled guilty to all charges.
According to information presented to the court, in November 2020, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), with the assistance of the FBI’s Rhode Island Safe Streets Gang Task Force, began a Project Safe Neighborhoods Investigation into a series of packages shipped to Arnaut’s residence from fictitious addresses in California. Each of the packages bore similar markings and handwriting, consistent with known shipments of illegal drugs by drug traffickers through the U.S. Mail. At least three similar packages were delivered to Arnaut’s residence.
In February 2021, a similar package was identified by USPIS agents as it moved through the mail stream. A court-authorized search of the package determined it contained cocaine. Arnaut was arrested on February 8, 2021, shortly after claiming the package at the U.S. Post Office.
A court-authorized search of Arnaut’s residence on the day of his arrest resulted in the seizure of approximately 100 fentanyl pills, an additional amount of cocaine, high-capacity rifle and pistol magazines, and $1,180 in cash. Arnaut, previously convicted of a felony and sentenced to a term exceeding one year, was legally prohibited from possessing the ammunition. The total amount of cocaine seized from the package and from Arnaut’s residence exceeded 500 grams.
Arnaut is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., on May 5, 2022.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey P. Veroni.
This case was investigated and prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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.