Thanks to the diligence of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections' Special Investigations Unit, four grams of heroin – with a prison value of almost $2,000 – have been confiscated and won't land in the hands of a drug user or dealer. It was last Tuesday, May 15, when a Minimum Security inmate was boasting to other inmates in the yard that he had found heroin at his litter crew site that day and that he would sell it to them. When the Special Investigators in the building became aware of this, they began an investigation.
Special Investigator Joe Forgue and his partner, David Perry, Correctional Officer Lieutenant Michael Reis and litter crew supervisor C.O. Michael Melucci joined forces with the RIDOC's K-9 Commander Stephen Hauser and his K-9, Robbie, last Wednesday in the area where the litter crew had been working, near the Texas Roadhouse Restaurant on Rte. 10. Nothing was found that day. On Thursday, when the weather cleared, the investigative team went to the overpass on Park Ave. where the crew had also worked and sent Robbie ahead to search for the heroin. "He hit on it within minutes," says Investigator Forgue. The brown powdery substance was in a small plastic bag, hidden in the finger of a blue rubber glove to protect it from the elements. It was tested and weighed back at the RIDOC. "Our test kit told us right away it was heroin," says Forgue. "Since no one had it in their actual possession, there were no criminal charges." The small bag is now labeled as evidence and remains in the RIDOC's possession.
Normally when drugs are found by a litter crew, they have been thrown from a vehicle being chased by police or they are deliberately delivered to inmates on the crew. "There is no evidence that this was delivered," notes Forgue. Noting that all of the information they received during the investigation turned out to be accurate and that they found the drug before someone else did, Forgue concluded, "We got lucky."