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Published On: Mon, Oct 1st, 2018

Rhode Island: FBI crackdown on firearms, gang violence leads to 26 indictments as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods

Twenty-six individuals have been indicted and more than two-dozen firearms, including three AK-47 and two AR-15 assault rifles, along with significant quantities of heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine have been seized in a series of Project Safe Neighborhoods federal investigations into firearm and drug trafficking in and around Providence.

For the past 18 months, federal, state and local law enforcement agents and officers assigned to the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and to the ATF Task Force have conducted dozens of undercover investigations targeting individuals illegally obtaining and/or trafficking firearms, and trafficking narcotics.

Many of the individuals are members of or associated with street gangs.

Project Safe Neighborhoods is a federal, state and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.

“Project Safe Neighborhoods is a proven program with demonstrated results,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “We know that the most effective strategy to reduce violent crime is based on sound policing policies that have proven effective over many years, which includes being targeted and responsive to community needs.  I have empowered our United States Attorneys to focus enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals in their districts, and directed that they work together with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners to develop tailored solutions to the unique violent crime problems they face.  Each United States Attorney has prioritized the PSN program, and I am confident that it will continue to reduce crime, save lives, and restore safety to our communities.”

photo/ Rob Brown

“For the past year, the Department of Justice has recommitted itself to the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, with the goal of reducing violent crime, thereby making all of our communities safer,” said United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch. He added, “These indictments and seizures demonstrate the significant progress federal, state and local law enforcement, working together as partners, made toward achieving that goal.”

Recent FBI Safe Street Task Force investigations have resulted in the seizure of seventeen firearms, including three AK-47 and two AR-15 assault rifles, more than 300 grams of fentanyl, 300 grams of crack cocaine, 100 grams of cocaine and 350 grams of crystal methamphetamine.

The most recent Safe Street Task Force arrests began in the pre-dawn hours of last Thursday, when more than 170 federal, state and local law enforcement agents, including multiple SWAT Teams, fanned out in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts seeking sixteen individuals named in nine sealed indictments returned by a federal grand jury in Providence. The Task Force also executed a total of seven federal court-authorized search warrants in Providence, Smithfield and New Bedford.

“These arrests should send a strong warning to gang members and violent criminals who engage in gun and drug trafficking in Providence and beyond.  We’re here, we’re watching, and we will not standby and allow them to pollute our neighborhoods with guns, drugs, and crime,” said Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Harold H. Shaw. “The FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force will continue working together with our law enforcement partners, to disrupt criminals and their networks who are promoting violence on our streets.  After all, every law abiding citizen should be free to walk down any street in any one of our neighborhoods without the fear of getting caught in the crosshairs of a violent crime.”

ATF Task Force Project Safe Neighborhoods investigations have, to date, resulted in the seizure of twenty firearms and the indictment of eleven individuals.  Among those arrested during a year-long investigation to identify individuals possessing or trafficking firearms, particularly in and around the Chad Brown neighborhood.

In a separate matter, investigated by the ATF Task Force, four alleged members or associates of the C-Block street gang are awaiting trial for their alleged roles in a crack cocaine distribution conspiracy run from inside the ACI.

 

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