After a two-year investigation into heroin trafficking in Providence twenty-four individuals have been imprisoned and twelve others have been detained on immigration charges. Authorities say the investigation has also dismantled the MS-13 street gang in Providence.
The investigation being coined "Operation Gas" targeted heroin trafficking from the Dominican Republic and Guatemala to Rhode Island and the distribution of that heroin to armed drug dealers throughout Providence.
Approximately twenty-three kilograms of heroin, 100 grams of cocaine, fifteen firearms, twelve vehicles, and $400,000 in cash were seized during the investigation. The initial investigation also triggered a second investigation into leaders and members of the MS-13 street gang. This investigation resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of twenty-four known members of the gang for various charges including drugs, firearms, assault, and arson. One of the individuals convicted for heroin trafficking also allegedly attempted to hire a person to murder his girlfriend.
"Armed gang activity, and associated drug dealing, continues to plague Providence and other urban neighborhoods across our state," said United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha. "History has taught us only too well: gangs and drug dealing inevitably lead to gun violence. To effectively combat this violence, we must continue to do more than simply wait for the shooting to stop and assess the carnage. Only a proactive approach, targeting the worst of the worst and bringing them to justice before the shooting starts, can lead to a safer Rhode Island."