Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced that a Providence County Superior Court jury found Elizabeth Mendez (DOB: 12/14/84), with a last known address of 27 Narragansett Street, Providence, guilty of possession of a controlled substance; in excess of 5 kilos of marijuana. The eight day trial was presided over Superior Court Associate Justice William Carnes.
During the trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that on July 26, 2010, Mendez, and two co-conspirators, was in possession of 33 kilos, approximately 70 pounds, of marijuana, with an estimated street value between $125,000 and $150,000.
Early in the evening on July 26, 2010, Rhode Island State Police received information regarding an armed car-jacking by the Providence Police which just occurred at the intersection of Admiral and Hawkins Streets. It was reported two dark skinned males wearing white t-shirts had forcibly taken a light blue Kia minivan from a female. At approximately 7:26 p.m. Rhode Island State Trooper Marc Alboum and North Providence Police Officer Raymond Reall found the minivan, unoccupied, in the Walgreens parking lot on Charles Street in North Providence.
While at the scene, officers noticed a black Nissan Maxima with two males that fit the description of the carjackers as passengers slowly drive by acting suspicious. After it was determined that the vehicle registration belonged to a 2000 Toyota, Trooper Alboum and Officer Reall began to follow the automobile.
After witnessing several moving violations, Trooper Alboum and Officer Reall stopped the vehicle. Approaching the vehicle, Trooper Alboum smelled the strong odor of marijuana in the rear of the vehicle. The driver, Elizabeth Mendez, and the passengers, Jonathon Espinal and Osvaldo German, were removed from the vehicle and cuffed while officers conducted a search of the vehicle. Upon opening the trunk, Officers discovered a large quantity of marijuana, later determined to be approximately 33 kilograms.
Mendez is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24, 2012. Judge Carnes continued her bail until sentencing. Osvaldo German (DOB: 10/27/84), with a last known address of 212 River Ave, Providence, pled nolo contendere in January, 2011 to possession of a controlled substance; in excess of 5 kilos of marijuana, and conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substance Act, and was sentenced to 20 years, with eight to serve and the remainder suspended with probation. Jonathon Espinal is currently a fugitive, having failed to appear before the court.
Special Assistant Attorney General Michael McCarthy prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.