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Press Release

Warwick Man Convicted on Drug Trafficking, Firearm Charges as Federal Jury Trial is Set to Begin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island
Guilty plea entered as Federal jury trial is set to begin

PROVIDENCE – Jose Manuel Rosario-Mella, a/k/a Luis Cortes, 55, of Warwick, arrested in August 2020 by Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force agents following a month-long investigation into his drug trafficking activities, pleaded guilty in federal court today to possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha. 

Rosario-Mella’s guilty plea was entered as his federal jury trial was scheduled to begin.

On August 12, 2022, DEA agents and Warwick Police detectives executed a court-authorized search of Rosario-Mella’s residence and seized a 1,002-gram brick of heroin from a closet shelf; a loaded 9mm Glock pistol and ammunition in a compartment in the master bedroom; $337,600 in cash; three kilogram presses used to compress heroin into bricks for transportation and sale; and assorted items used in the preparation and distribution of heroin.

Present in the residence at the time of the search was the defendant’s girlfriend and her two minor daughters.

Rosario-Mella is scheduled to be sentenced on April 13, 2023.  The defendant’s sentence will be determined by a federal district judge after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney’s Paul F. Daly, Jr., and Zechariah Chafee.

The Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force is comprised of personnel from the DEA; Rhode Island State Police; and the Central Falls, East Providence, Cranston, Coventry, Newport, North Kingstown, Pawtucket, Providence, South Kingstown, Warwick, West Warwick, Woonsocket and Amtrak Police Departments.

 Additionally, United States Attorney Cunha thanks ATF for their assistance in the investigation.



Jim Martin
(401) 709-5357

Updated January 10, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-05