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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wyatt Detention Facility Detainee Convicted Of Possession Of Makeshift Weapon In Prison





PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A federal court jury in Providence today convicted Ernesto Monell, 36, of Taunton, Mass., with possession of contraband - a makeshift weapon, while incarcerated at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and United States Marshal Jamie A. Hainsworth.

According to the government’s evidence presented to the jury, on August 16, 2013, correctional officers assigned to the L-Pod at the Wyatt Detention Facility observed a disturbance break out involving numerous detainees attacking one another. Monell was observed attacking two or more detainees using a homemade weapon/shank. The disturbance was recorded on the facility’s video surveillance system. Monell can be seen on the video, which was introduced as evidence and played for the jury, swinging his arm in a stabbing type motion. An object can be seen in his hand.

According to the government’s evidence, the correctional staff brought the situation under control by using chemical spray, and noted that Monell suffered injuries to his hand consistent with holding a makeshift type weapon. A search of the L-Pod was undertaken and a makeshift weapon/shank was recovered from a second tier waste can. A correctional officer who first observed the disturbance break out identified the item as the weapon Monell was using to carry out his assaults.

Detainees who were seen on the video being struck by Monell were examined and found to have puncture and scratch like injuries consistent with having been inflicted by the shank.

At the time of the incident, Monell was detained at the Wyatt Detention Facility on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Monell is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith on September 12, 2014. Possession of contraband in prison is punishable by a statutory penalty up to 3 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. William J. Ferland.

The matter was investigated by the Wyatt Detention Center Investigative Unit, with the assistance of the United States Marshals Service.

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Updated June 22, 2015