Gun, fentanyl seized in traffic stop; two charged A loaded handgun and counterfeit pills containing fentanyl were among the illegal items uncovered during a traffic stop last week that has led to charges against two men, according to Cranston Police. The
A loaded handgun and counterfeit pills containing fentanyl were among the illegal items uncovered during a traffic stop last week that has led to charges against two men, according to Cranston Police.
The stop occurred at approximately 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 27 in the Cranston Street area based on officers observing “various motor vehicle violations,” a statement from police reads.
“A search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of forty-nine (49) counterfeit pills stamped with the numerical identifier E-404, associated with an amphetamine commonly prescribed to treat ADHT and narcolepsy,” according to the statement. “Later, a field test revealed the pills contained fentanyl, a potent pain killer responsible for multiple deadly opioid overdoses. Also discovered inside the vehicle was a quantity of crack cocaine, a digital scale, and a loaded .45 caliber handgun.”
The operator of the vehicle, identified Jarred Alba, 25, of 101 Oaklawn Ave. in Cranston, attempted to flee on foot during the stop but was “quickly apprehended,” police say.
Alba is charged with Carrying a Firearm While Committing a Crime of Violence, License Required for Carrying a Pistol, Possession with Intent to Deliver fentanyl, Possession of crack cocaine, Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest.
The sole passenger in the vehicle, identified as Troy Lassiter, 49, of 26 John St. in Johnston, is charged with possession of crack cocaine. He was also taken into custody on an active Third Division District Court bench warrant.
Alba was ordered held without bail at his arraignment, according to police, while Lassiter’s bail was set at $50,000 with surety.
“The public should be warned that there is an influx of counterfeit prescription pills being sold on the black market here in Rhode Island,” Chief of Police Michael Winquist said in the release. “These pills contain high purity levels of fentanyl or methamphetamine, resulting in overdose deaths of unsuspecting users in Cranston and throughout the country. These counterfeit pills are being produced to resemble prescription pills such as OxyContin, Adderall, and Xanax. These drugs are popular among high school and college students and are referred to as study drugs. Only use prescription pills prescribed to you and purchased from a legitimate pharmacy. Buying pills on the street can have deadly consequences.”
Four people have been charged in connection with a “large-scale illegal marijuana cultivation operation” in Warwick near the Cranston line, according to Warwick Police.
A search warrant for the buildings at 1700 and 1708 Elmwood Ave. was executed Oct. 29, police said in a press release, and “active illegal marijuana grows were confirmed” at the location. The warrants were sought as a result of an investigation that began in September based on “
information that a large marijuana grow and possible fentanyl pill press” were being operated at the site.
“Investigative intelligence was developed that area juveniles had or were being solicited to work in the cultivating and harvesting of illegal marijuana at the location,” the release states.
During last week’s search, police uncovered “marijuana plants in various stages of growth, lighting, and irrigation and ventilation systems,” according to police.
“Also located during the search were bags of packaged marijuana, buckets of recently harvested marijuana and equipment and packaging material commonly used for the sale and distribution of illegal narcotics,” the release continues. “In total 368 marijuana plants in various stages of growth and over 27 pounds of harvested marijuana were seized.”
Four people were arrested at the scene and charged with one count each of manufacturing/possession of marijuana and conspiracy, police said. They are Arman Matevosyan, 39, of 61 Fairfax Drive in Warwick; Gagik Davtian, 62, of 101 Sefton Ave. in Warwick; Raymond Renzi, 53, of 630 Greenville Ave. in Johnston; and Artak Ghazaryan, 43, of 61 Fairfax Drive in Warwick.
Both of the buildings involved were condemned and their electricity was cut, according to police. The release also indicates that such operations are often found “nestled in residential neighborhoods,” creating risks for residents and generating complaints.
“These illegal operations are often a serious fire hazard and exhibit many building code violations,” the release states. “Lack of enforcement is simply not an option particularly when intelligence suggested area juveniles were being recruited and more serious and deadly narcotics may also be manufactured on site. This particular site was just steps away from a City of Warwick recreation facility where youth sports are played.”
An Adult Correctional Institutions inmate was sentenced to four years in federal prison last week for his role in arranging for the sale of a firearm and methamphetamine while incarcerated, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Tyler Bagley, 29, pleaded guilty to charges of being in possession of a firearm as a felon and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in U.S. District Court in July. As part of the sentence issued last week, he will served three years of supervised release following his prison term.
Prosecutors say that in October 2020, Bagley “telephoned his then girlfriend, Bernice Chase, 39, of Providence, and, using coded language, instructed her to call a phone number he provided to her to arrange for the sale of a firearm that he had previously obtained.”
“Chase called the number and arranged to meet the next day with the buyer to provide him with a Glock9mm pistol in exchange for $450,” a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office continues. “About an hour after the transaction was completed, Bagley telephoned Chase and instructed her to deposit $200 into his prison account and for her to keep the remainder of the proceeds. Unbeknownst to Bagley and Chase, the individual that purchased the firearm was an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, ad Explosives.”
It adds: “About a month later, Bagley contacted Chase by telephone from inside the prison and, using coded language, told Chase to again contact the person that purchased the firearm and to sell him 28 grams of methamphetamine. A day later, Chase and the ATF undercover agent met, and she provided the agent with 14 grams of meth in exchange for $800. Chase told Bagley that she could not get the full 28 grams, but she was able to get 15 and made 300 dollars profit. Bagley instructed Chase to keep half of the proceeds and to deposit half into his prison account. Analysis at a DEA laboratory established that the methamphetamine sold to the undercover agent weighed 14.058 grams and was 97% pure.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Chase pleaded guilty to the same charges as Bagley in September of this year. Her sentencing is scheduled for January.
A Warwick man has been convicted of illegally buying and selling 16 firearms without a federal license, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Ademola Kayode, Jr., 30, was found guilty of possessing a firearm as an unlawful user of controlled substances, making a false statement during the purchase of firearms, and two counts of making false statements to federal agents, a statement from prosecutors reads. The verdict came Oct. 20 following a three-day trial in U.S. District Court jury on Oct. 20.
The case against Kayode stems from a 16-month investigation on the part of ATF agents and other law enforcement officials.
“According to the government’s evidence presented at trial, an investigation by ATF agents determined that between March 25, 2015, and July 16, 2016, Kayode falsely asserted on ATF background forms required for gun purchases that he was not a user of controlled substances, when in fact he was,” the U.S. Attorney’s statement reads. “In total, Kayode purchased sixteen firearms in sixteen months from federally licensed firearms dealers in Rhode Island and Georgia during this period, in addition to others on the Internet. Kayode came to the attention of ATF agents because of his repeated purchases of firearms in a relatively short period of time, often the same or similar model. An investigation determined that Kayode repeatedly sold firearms without a federal firearms license to do so, and at least five of those firearms ended up in the hands of individuals who were legally prohibited from possessing them.”
The statement continues: “To date, five of the sixteen firearms purchased by Kayode between March 2015 and July 2016 have been recovered by law enforcement. Three of the guns were recovered in Rhode Island, one in Atlanta, and one in Queens, New York. All were in the possession of individuals who are legally prohibited from possessing firearms.”
Kayode’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 8.
-- Daniel Kittredge
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