Federal Cocaine Charges
A man was arrested in Providence, Rhode Island, and charged in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island Providence, RI for:
- Conspiracy to Distribute and to Possess with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 (a)(1), (b)(1)(A) and 846
A letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) was assaulted and robbed on Broad Street in Providence. She was approached by four men inquiring about a priority mail package that was shipped to Rhode Island from Puerto Rico. When she refused to relinquish the package to two men who initially inquired about it, two other men approached her more aggressively. When neither of these two men could produce an identification that matched the addressee’s information, the men punched the woman repeatedly until she relinquished the package. They then fled the area; one on foot with the package and the other in a Honda Accord. The first man to approach her, a Dominican male, also fled the area in a Honda CRV.
The entire incident was observed by eyewitnesses and captured by surveillance cameras from nearby businesses. Providence Police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service jointly investigated this incident. Surveillance captured the vehicles involved, along with their registration plates. Tracing this information, authorities identified two of the men involved that day: one of the letter carrier’s attackers who fled in the Honda Accord and the Dominican man who first approached her on the sidewalk and later fled in the CRV.
Authorities also learned that the package at issue, and several others from Puerto Rico to Rhode Island and elsewhere, contained kilograms of cocaine. The internet protocol address and the electronic device used to track these drug-filled packages were identical. Also, one of the attackers dropped his cell phone during the struggle with the letter carrier.
Police extracted the digital contents of this phone, which revealed a saved contact and call history between the user of the phone and the Dominican male who first approached the letter carrier. Authorities conducted ongoing surveillance of the Dominican man, identifying both his home and place of employment.
Authorities also conducted a traffic stop of him to verify his identity. Weeks later, police learned of another package inbound to Rhode Island from Puerto Rico, that was being tracked by the same device used to track the prior drug shipments. Authorities intercepted this package and made a controlled delivery of it to an address in Providence, which was implicated in other deliveries. The package was retrieved by the letter carrier’s attacker, who was driving the same Honda Accord used to flee the scene after the robbery.
Police arrested the man and confirmed the most recent package contained narcotics. In a post-arrest confession, he admitted his involvement with receiving packages of cocaine from Puerto Rico, and recruiting others, including the Dominican male, to assist him. Authorities subsequently arrested the Dominican man. Both men were indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine.
The Dominican man hired Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer, John L. Calcagni III, to defend him in this matter.
Case Result: Not Guilty After Trial.
The man declined a pretrial offer to admit guilt to an amended, non-drug felony that called for a sentence of time served and proceeded to trial. At trial, the government presented the testimony of ten witnesses, all of whom were cross-examined by Attorney Calcagni. The Defense also conceded the admissibility of the government’s exhibits. The Defense did not offer any evidence or witnesses. The theory of defense was that the government failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Dominican male knowingly and intentionally joined a drug conspiracy or had any knowledge that the package forcefully taken from the letter carrier contained narcotics. After several hours of deliberating, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty in favor of the Defendant.