Two are Found Guilty in Rhode Island Heroin Conspiracy
JUL 01 -- A federal jury has found Stiven F. Polanco guilty of trafficking 100 grams or more of heroin and of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. A codefendant, David Contreras, previously pled guilty to his role in the conspiracy, in which about 100 grams of heroin were arranged to be sold to an undercover officer working with the Newport Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Taskforce.
Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Acting Rhode Island United States Attorney Luis M. Matos, announced the guilty verdict, which the jury returned yesterday after a two-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith in U.S. District Court, Providence. The jury deliberated for about two hours.
During the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra R. Hebert and Milind M. Shah presented evidence that, in December 2008, the DEA Task Force conducted an undercover investigation into the heroin trafficking activities of David Contreras and Stiven F. Polanco. As part of this investigation, the undercover officer purchased 19 grams of heroin from David Contreras on December 3, 2008. Stiven F. Polanco assisted Contreras with the drug deal. Then, on December 9, 2008, the undercover officer arranged to buy 100 grams of heroin from Contreras. On December 10, 2008, when the agents arrived at the location where the undercover officer was supposed to meet with Contreras, they found Contreras and Polanco waiting in Polanco’s car. The two were arrested and Polanco’s car was searched. Inside the rear driver’s side door panel, agents found a hidden compartment containing 94 grams of heroin and a loaded .45 caliber handgun. Agents obtained a search warrant for Polanco’s apartment and found numerous items related to heroin trafficking, including 12 grams of heroin, .380 caliber ammunition, scales, packaging material, grinders and money.
The jury found Polanco guilty of four charges: conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, aiding and abetting the distribution of heroin, possessing 100 grams or more of heroin with the intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. In February, Contreras pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Both face a minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years imprisonment plus a $2,000,000 fine on the drug counts. Polanco faces a consecutive five year sentence on the firearms charge.
Contreras and Polanco are detained pending sentencing.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and the DEA Task Force investigated the case. Detectives from the Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, East Providence, Warwick, Middletown and Woonsocket police departments are assigned to the Task Force. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also assisted with the investigation.