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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Providence Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking, Firearms Charges

Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation targeting firearm and drug trafficking in Chad Brown neighborhood

PROVIDENCE, RI – A Providence man indicted during a year-long joint Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Providence Police, to identify individuals possessing or trafficking firearms in and around the Chad Brown neighborhood of Providence, today pleaded guilty in federal court to firearms and drug trafficking charges.

Lawrence M. Crowell, 32, pleaded guilty as charged in an indictment returned in December 2016 to one count each of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. Crowell, who has been detained in federal custody since his arraignment on December 19, 2016, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., on May 16, 2018.

Project Safe Neighborhoods is a federal, state and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.

Crowell’s guilty plea is announced by United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch; Mickey Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of ATF; and Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr.

According to court documents, on November 17, 2016, an individual assisting law enforcement in this Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation purchased $900 worth of marijuana from Crowell. During the transaction, which took place inside Crowell’s Chad Brown neighborhood apartment, Crowell removed a Sig Sauer pistol from his pocket and provided it to the individual for examination. Crowell told the individual that the firearm was “legit” and that he knew another person who had other types of firearms for sale. The firearm was returned to Crowell.

On November 21, 2016, ATF Agents, members of the ATF Task Force and Providence Police executed a court-authorized search of Crowell’s residence.  In a bedroom, agents found nearly 363 grams of marijuana and the Sig Saur pistol, which was loaded with 12 rounds of hollow point ammunition and outfitted with a laser sight. In an attic, agents found a Ruger pistol secured by a gunlock, the key to which was found on Crowell’s key chain.  The Ruger was loaded with 6 rounds of hollow point ammunition. 

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

The ATF Task Force is comprised of agents and officers from ATF, Providence Police Department, Pawtucket Police Department, Cranston Police Department, Rhode Island State Police, Providence Fire Department and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
18-28
Updated February 28, 2018