Cranston Man Sentenced to Serve 10 Years at the ACI on Multiple Drug Distribution Charges

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Cranston man was sentenced yesterday in Providence County Superior Court to serve 10 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI), stemming from a 2015 wiretap investigation into a large-scale drug distribution network in which 27 individuals were charged.


Pablo Gonzalez de Leon (age 52), of Cranston, pleaded nolo contendere to one count of delivery of over one kilogram of cocaine, one count of possession of one ounce to one kilogram of cocaine, one count of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, one count of delivery of fentanyl and oxycodone, one count of conspiracy to possess over one kilogram of cocaine, and seven counts of conspiracy to deliver cocaine.


At yesterday’s hearing, Providence County Superior Court Justice Joseph A. Montalbano sentenced Gonzalez de Leon to 25 years at the ACI with 10 years to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation.


“It is a priority of this Office to target significant drug distribution networks operating in Rhode Island,” said Attorney General Neronha. “These large-scale operations, typically with national and international links, drive the use of illegal drugs that is killing Rhode Islanders and damaging our communities. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners in going after major drug dealers like the defendant here. I am grateful to the team of law enforcement agencies, led by the State Police HIDTA, who did such outstanding work in connection with this case.”


Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that between October 2015 and January 2016, Gonzalez de Leon was a key figure in a large-scale drug distribution network in Rhode Island as the main supplier of cocaine.


During that time, Gonzalez de Leon and Juan Rivera were the two main targets of a wiretap investigation led by the Rhode Island State Police (RISP) into significant heroin and cocaine distribution throughout the state.


Gonzalez de Leon and 26 other co-defendants were arrested in January 2016 by members of the Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Homeland Security Investigations; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


During the arrests, law enforcement seized over a kilogram of cocaine, as well as fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamines, and oxycodone.


Rivera pleaded nolo contendere in Providence Superior Court on November 17, 2016 and was sentenced to 30 years at the ACI with 15 years to serve and the balance suspended with probation.


Corporal Luke Schatz of the RISP led the investigation into the case. Assistant Attorneys General Joseph McBurney and Peter Roklan prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.

Houston's police chief says two officers have been shot. Chief Art Acevedo shared the news on Twitter. He added, "Please pray!"        The Justice Department is taking Google to court in a major antitrust case. The tech giant is accused of stifling competition in order to maintain dominance in online search and ad markets.       President Trump is still planning to debate Joe Biden this week. His campaign manager confirmed the President's commitment yesterday after the debate commission announced some changes. Trump said this morning on Fox News he's no fan of the debate commission.       A man accused in the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is out of jail. Lawyers for Brian Higgins say he posted ten-thousand-dollars bail. He also surrendered his passport as part of his release.        Today's a big day for theme parks in California. Coronavirus health and safety guidelines for theme park reopenings will be announced today. California's Health and Human Services Secretary will unveil the new rules.        Housing starts for September are on the rise. They came in at an annual rate of just over one-point-million last month. However, that's less than what was expected.