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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wyatt Detention Facility Detainee Sentenced To 2 Years In Prison For Possession Of Makeshift Weapon

Sentence Imposed In Addition To Nearly 22-year Federal Sentence On Firearm And Drug Charges






PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Ernesto Monell, 36, formerly of Taunton, Mass., was sentenced on Wednesday to 24 months in federal prison, having been convicted by a federal court jury in Providence on May 20, 2014, of being in 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.

The sentence was imposed by United States District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith.

According to the government’s evidence presented to the jury, on August 16, 2013, correctional officers at the Wyatt Detention Facility observed a disturbance involving numerous detainees. Monell was observed attacking two or more detainees using a homemade weapon/shank. The disturbance, which was recorded on the facility’s video surveillance system, shows Monell holding an object in his hand and swinging his arm in a stabbing type motion. 

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 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.

Four days after being convicted in U.S. District Court in Providence for being in possession of contraband - a makeshift weapon, Monell was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Boston to 262 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of cocaine base with the intent to distribute. In that case, Monell was arrested by Fall River Police on February 16, 2012, after a court authorized search of his residence resulted in the seizure of, among other things, a loaded firearm, a shotgun and a substantial amount of crack cocaine.  When police arrived at Monell’s residence to execute a court authorized search warrant they found Monell’s apartment door barricaded. Police forced their way in and came upon Monell, who was holding a loaded pistol. He was apprehended without further incident.

The case in federal court in Providence was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney 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