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.

At least six people are dead after Hurricane Zeta, four killed by falling trees. The storm made landfall in Louisiana Wednesday, leaving a trail of damage in seven states. More than a million people remain without power, with the most in Georgia where several schools will remain closed Friday.        The U.S. is recording more than 87-thousand new cases of COVID-19 in a single day, the most since the pandemic began. Thursday's numbers break a record set less than a week ago. Most states in the U.S. are seeing a spike in cases. More than 228-thousand Americans have died from the virus.        U.S. officials say they've made the largest-ever civil seizures of fuel and weapons from Iran. The Justice Department says Iran sold petroleum from that fuel, which was heading for Venezuela. Most of the money will be sent to help victims of state-sponsored terrorism.        The former president of Liberty University is suing the school for defamation. Jerry Falwell Jr. filed a lawsuit against the school after a sex scandal led to his resignation over the summer. Falwell claims the school never investigated the claims against him and instead "jumped to conclusions" which damaged his reputation.        At least 140 people are dead after a boat carrying about 200 migrants capsized off Senegal's coast. The International Organization for Migration says the boat caught fire and sank last weekend near on the West African nation. At least 59 people were rescued by local navies and fisherman.        Netflix is raising prices. The streaming giant's standard plan will now cost 13-99 a month. The premium plan is going to be 17-99 a month. The entry-level plan will stay at seven-99 a month.