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Providence man sentenced to serve 15 years at the ACI on firearms charges

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man was sentenced today in Providence County Superior Court to serve 15 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) on firearms charges after violating the terms of his probation from a previous firearms conviction.

Russell Cartagena (age 38), pleaded nolo contendere to one count of possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a crime of violence and one count of possession of a firearm without a license.

At today's hearing, Providence County Superior Court Magistrate Richard Raspallo sentenced Cartagena to 20 years at the ACI with 15 years to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation.

At the time of his arrest, Cartagena was on probation after having been convicted of a carrying a pistol without a license and assault with a dangerous weapon in 2012.

"Rhode Islanders are well aware of the rising tide of gun violence in recent months. That violence is driven by criminals like the defendant here, who time after time possess firearms and are prepared to use them," said Attorney General Neronha. "This defendant has now paid a heavy price, one entirely justified by his repeated gun crimes. The Central Falls police did a fine job on this case, and I am grateful for their efforts."

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond reasonable doubt that during the evening of June 28, 2020, Central Falls police officers seized a loaded semi-automatic pistol and ammunition from Cartagena's vehicle.

That evening, Central Falls police officers stopped Cartagena for running a stop sign while driving in a Toyota Avalon on Summit Street. Officers later searched the vehicle, which was registered to Cartagena, and found a loaded .25 caliber semiautomatic handgun with additional magazines and bullets.

Sergeant Phil Garland and Officer Joseph Decristoforo of the Central Falls Police Department led the investigation. Assistant Attorney General Joseph McBurney prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.

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