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FBI, State Police, WPD Arrest Four, Seize Crystal Meth in Trafficking Case

The US District Courthouse in Providence, RI.
The US District Courthouse in Providence, RI.

PROVIDENCE – An ongoing federal, state, and Warwick Police Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation into RI crystal methamphetamine trafficking has so far resulted in four arrests and the seizure of more than 250 grams of crystal meth and two firearms, United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman’s office reports.

The FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force, the Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, and the Warwick Police Department joint investigation determined that crystal meth was routinely shipped from out-of-state to Providence, and was allegedly being stored and distributed from residences and a storage unit in Providence and from a Warwick motel, according to documents unsealed in U.S. District Court today,

The development was announced by United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police Colonel James M. Manni, and Warwick Police Chief Colonel Rick Rathbun.

The investigators allege that beginning in at least August 2019, Sean M. Francis, 31, of Providence, began receiving a steady flow of overnight packages containing crystal meth shipped from out-of-state. At least 11 such packages have been identified by law enforcement. It is alleged that Francis distributed the crystal meth to others.

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Documents also allege that on several occasions Steven Robinson, 47, and Alexa Samoiloff, 50, of Providence, sold crystal meth to others, including to Jacob Abbruzzese, 46, of Cranston. It is alleged in court documents that Abbruzzese sold crystal meth to others.

During the course of the investigation, at least nine alleged drug transactions of between 8 grams and 49.4 grams for between $200 and $1,400 were monitored by law enforcement. The crystal meth was immediately seized by law enforcement following each monitored transaction.

On Nov. 7, 2019, officers executed a court-authorized search of Francis’ residence and seized 66.3 grams of crystal meth, a black Taurus handgun accompanied by 14 rounds of .357 ammunition and a speed loader, a colt “Official Police” revolver, a pellet handgun, numerous cellphones, and items used in the packaging and distribution of crystal meth.

Francis was arrested on Nov. 7 and ordered detained in federal custody following an initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Friday on a criminal complaint charging him with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

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 The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine D. Lowell and Sandra R. Hebert.

United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta, and Warwick Police Chief Colonel Rick Rathbun thank the Newport and Providence Police Departments for their assistance in the investigation.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.