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Providence man sentenced to serve 11.5 years in state prison on drug distribution and illegal firearms charges

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man was sentenced in Providence Superior Court to serve 11.5 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) stemming from a four-month investigation by law enforcement into drug distribution in Providence and Warwick.

Javier Morales (age 35) pleaded nolo contendere to one count each of possession of an ounce to a kilogram of cocaine and fentanyl; possession of an ounce to a kilogram of fentanyl; possession with intent to deliver cocaine, fentanyl, and MDMA; possession with intent to deliver cocaine and fentanyl; possession of a firearm after being convicted of a crime of violence; and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Morales also pleaded to two counts of possession of a pistol with an obliterated serial number.

At a hearing on November 19, 2020 before Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers, the court sentenced Morales to 26.5 years at the ACI with 11.5 years to serve and 15 years suspended with probation. Morales was also adjudged a Habitual Offender and his 15-year suspended sentence was ordered to be non-parolable if imposed.

"Drug distribution and illegal guns fuel violent crime and substance abuse in our state and put Rhode Islanders at risk," said Attorney General Neronha. "Given the seriousness of the defendant's offenses, the lengthy sentence imposed is entirely appropriate and well-deserved. The Providence and Warwick Police Departments should be commended for their work in targeting drug distribution and removing illegal guns from their communities."

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on November 5, 2019, following a four-month investigation into drug distribution by Morales, members of the Providence and Warwick Police Departments executed search warrants at locations in Providence and Warwick and seized multiple firearms, quantities of drugs, cash, and a stolen motorcycle.

On that day, members of the Providence Police Department executed a search warrant at a residence on Kepler Street where they seized 107 grams of cocaine, 130 MDMA pills, 220 grams of fentanyl, a loaded Glock 9mm pistol, a Taurus 9mm pistol with ammunition, an American Tactical 5.56 AR-15-style rifle with ammunition, and $2,999 in cash.

Simultaneously, members of the Warwick Police Department executed a search warrant at a residence on Oak Grove Street where they seized 224 grams of fentanyl, ten small bags of cocaine, a loaded Springfield 9mm pistol, and a stolen Suzuki motorcycle.

"Illegal drugs and weapons inevitably lead to violence," said Steven M. Pare, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety. "We appreciate the sentence imposed by Judge Kristen Rodgers, the assistance and work of the Warwick Police and the tenacity of the Providence police officers and prosecutor, Joseph McBurney, in this case. We are a safer community today with the incarceration of Mr. Morales."

Detective Jonathan Desmarais and Lieutenant Nicholas Ludovici of the Providence Police Department led the investigation into the case, with assistance from Sergeant Jed Pineau of the Warwick Police Department. Assistant Attorney General Joseph McBurney prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.

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