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SUV’s WA Transporter Plates Prompt Charges for Stolen Goods, Marijuana

The Warwick Police Department is located at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.
The Warwick Police Department is located at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.
The Warwick Police Department is located at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.

WARWICK, RI — Officer Aaron Steere was driving on Rte. 95 south near exit 13 when he spotted a 2008 Ford Explorer with WA transporter plates, which officials had told him should not be used outside that state, and pulled the SUV over, arresting the driver for receiving stolen plates and the passenger for possessing illegal amounts of marijuana.

Steere ran a check of the plates, which had been reported stolen from Providence, and pulled the SUV over near exit 12. He approached the SUV from the passenger’s side, and identified the driver as Frank Valenzuela 23, of 13 Babcock St., Apt. 2, Providence. He identified the passenger as Kelvin Vilorio, 24, of 359 New York Ave., Apt. 1, Providence, according to the report.

As he spoke with the men, neither of whom had valid IDs, checking their identities through DMV and other city agencies, Steere noted a strong odor of marijuana. He returned to his cruiser to continue searching the background of the men, finding that Valenzuela had a long criminal history that included possession with intent to deliver narcotics, possession of firearms, and interactions with multiple RI police agencies.

Two other officers arrived to assist Steere, who continued to question Valenzuela about what he was doing with the plates. Valenzuela only said that he had picked up the SUV at a dealership, but did not say where he was bringing the vehicle, repeating, “It should be in the paper work,” to several questions on the matter. Questions included who he worked for, or where he was bringing the SUV.

Eventually, Steere was able to determine the plates belonged to Auto Express LLC in Seattle Washington. While the driver had documentation for the transport, it appeared to be fraudulent, Steere reported.

Steere searched the SUV, finding two bags of marijuana on the front drivers floorboard, 2.5 grams and a second on the passenger’s side, 7 grams.

Steere arrested Valenzuela for possession of stolen goods, and was also cited for improper use of plates, and issued a violation for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. He was held as a bail violator on a 2016 conviction for possession of narcotics with intent to deliver.

Vilorio was issued a violation for possession of marijuana, one ounce or less. The SUV was towed from the scene.

Rob Borkowski
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 Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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