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Two involved in Fall River drug ring sentenced to prison Monday

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PROVIDENCE, RI – Two of four men who admitted to being members of a Fall River-based conspiracy that trafficked cocaine and crack cocaine into Newport were sentenced today to federal prison. The four men were arrested during a Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation by Newport Police in October 2017, when detectives interrupted a scheduled delivery of cocaine in the parking lot of the then Newport Grand casino.

Jose Martinez-Hernandez, 30, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith to 36 months in prison to be followed by 3 years supervised release. Martinez-Hernandez pleaded guilty on May 16, 2018, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Jorge L. Pizzaro, aka “Chino”, 21, was sentenced by Chief Judge William E. Smith to 63 months in prison to be followed by 3 years supervised release. Pizzaro pleaded guilty on July 12, 2018, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The sentences are announced by United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Newport Police Chief Gary T. Silva, and Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Mickey Leadingham.

According to court documents and information presented to the Court, Newport Police detectives learned of a scheduled delivery of 14 grams of cocaine for $600, to occur on October 30, 2017. The delivery was to take place in the parking lot of the then Newport Grand casino. At the time of the scheduled delivery, two vehicles arrived in tandem. Newport Police detectives surrounded the vehicles and detained the occupants. Martinez-Hernandez was found to be carrying a loaded firearm and 11 grams of cocaine. A search of the vehicles and their occupants resulted in the additional seizure of two loaded firearms, 14 grams of cocaine, and 37 individual bags of crack cocaine. Pizzaro was found to be in possession of 37 individual bags of crack cocaine. Under his seat was a loaded firearm.

Also arrested and later charged by way of a federal indictment were Manuel C. Coradin, 38, of Cranston, and Antonio Oquendo Cancel, aka “Loco,” 30, of Fall River.

Coradin pleaded guilty on November 30, 2018, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. He was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on March 8, 2019, to 36 months in federal prison to be followed by 3 years supervised release.

Cancel pleaded guilty on April 4, 2019, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief Judge William E. Smith on July 11, 2019.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Hebert.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted the Newport Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office in preparing this Project Safe Neighborhoods case for prosecution.

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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