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Press Release

Providence Man Admits to Possessing More than Forty Grams of Fentanyl Six Days After Pleading Guilty to Trafficking Anabolic Steroids

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

PROVIDENCE –  A 30-year-old Providence man today admitted to a federal judge that he possessed more than 250 grams of fentanyl and a firearm, and did so less than a week after pleading guilty, in February 2021, to conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.

According to court documents, Mason A. Nieves previously participated in a conspiracy that distributed significantly more than 60,000 units of steroids, leading to his arrest on February 19, 2020. He pleaded guilty on February 3, 2021, to a charge of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids.

 Six days after Nieves entered his guilty plea, and while he awaited sentencing, members of the Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Area (HIDTA) Task Force executed a court-authorized search of Nieves’ Providence residence as part of an ongoing Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation into the trafficking of fentanyl in Rhode Island .  During the search, law enforcement seized 251 grams of fentanyl and drug packaging materials from inside a kitchen cabinet; a loaded firearm from under Nieves’ bed; and $1,591 in cash. Today, Nieves pleaded guilty to an additional charge of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl.

Nieves is scheduled to be sentenced on June 1, 2023, for both conspiring to distribute anabolic steroids and for possessing with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl. The defendant’s sentences will be determined by a federal district judge after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christine D. Lowell.

These cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.



Jim Martin
(401) 709-5357

Updated February 15, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 23-20