Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Juan "Cookie" Rivera (age 51), of Providence, pleaded nolo contendere today before Superior Court Justice Joseph Montalbano to 51 counts of violating the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act, including delivery of heroin, fentanyl, crystal meth, and cocaine. Under the terms of the plea, Rivera was sentenced to 30 years with 15 years to serve and the remainder suspended.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that Rivera operated a large scale heroin and cocaine distribution network throughout the State. Rivera, and 26 other co-defendants were arrested in January as part of a six-month coordinated investigation, dubbed "Operation Cookie Crumble," 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.
To date, 11 defendants have pleaded to their role in the drug ring.
Rhode Island State Police Detective Luke Schatz led the investigation and Special Assistant Attorneys General Joseph McBurney and Peter Roklan prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.