Woonsocket man sentenced to serve 5 years in state prison on illegal firearm and drug trafficking charges



PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Woonsocket man was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve five years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) stemming from his arrest in 2020 by the Woonsocket Police Department while in possession on fentanyl and an illegal handgun.


Alexis Sierra (age 19) entered a plea of nolo contendere to one count each of possession with intent to deliver fentanyl, possession of a firearm while delivering a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm after having previously been convicted of a crime of violence.


At a hearing on September 3, 2021, before Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers, the Court sentenced Sierra to serve two concurrent five-year sentences at the ACI. The Court also sentenced Sierra to an additional seven-year suspended sentence with probation to be served consecutive to his five-year sentences at the ACI.


“Make no mistake: armed drug dealers play a major role in driving urban violence. Identifying these criminals and building cases against them before they can harm others, whether through the drugs they deal or the guns they wield, is a key component of our strategic efforts to make our neighborhoods safer,” said Attorney General Neronha. “I am grateful for the excellent work of the Woonsocket Police Department to remove a significant public safety threat from their city.”


Had the case proceeded to a trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on the evening of September 2, 2020, Sierra was arrested following the execution of a search warrant at his residence on Rockridge Drive, where investigators seized fentanyl, an illegal handgun, and drug paraphernalia.


Prior to his arrest, the Woonsocket Police Department had identified Sierra as a suspect in an investigation into gun violence and drug trafficking in the greater Woonsocket area.


That evening, investigators executed a search warrant at Sierra’s Rockridge Drive residence and seized 4.6 grams of fentanyl, a Taurus G3c 9mm handgun, and drug paraphernalia.


In 2019, Sierra was convicted of felony assault. Under Rhode Island law, individuals convicted of crimes of violence are prohibited from possessing a firearm.


“Members of the Woonsocket Police Department are committed to investigations that target individuals whose illegal activities threaten the safety of the people of Woonsocket,” said Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas F. Oates III. “Individuals involved in drug trafficking and possession of illegal firearms will always be priority targets of investigations of the Woonsocket Police Department.”


Special Assistant Attorney General Alison Bittl of the Office of the Attorney General and Detectives Joseph Zinni and Michael Flood of the Woonsocket Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.