North Providence man sentenced after pleading to drug distribution charges
PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – A North Providence man was sentenced to serve 9 years after pleading to drug distribution charges stemming from a long-term wiretap investigation.
27-year-old Luis Munoz Mercado pleaded no contest to a total of 30 counts last week.
Munoz Mercado is facing three counts of possession with intent to deliver fentanyl, three counts of possession with intent to deliver between one ounce and one kilogram of fentanyl, one count of delivery of fentanyl, and multiple counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and cocaine.
The court Court sentenced Munoz Mercado to 20 years at the ACI, with nine years to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation.
“This Office and our partners in law enforcement continue to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of significant drug trafficking organizations,” said Attorney General Neronha.
“The defendant was a major player in just such an organization, and his lengthy sentence is warranted by the scope and scale of his drug distribution activity. I am grateful to our federal and state law enforcement partners for their excellent work on this time-intensive, complex investigation and prosecution”, he continued.
During the wiretap, the HIDTA task force recorded phone conversations between Munoz Mercado and co-conspirators discussing the distribution of fentanyl and cocaine.
The task force also captured evidence of Munoz Mercado processing powder cocaine into crack cocaine and distributing narcotics in pill form.
The investigation, named “Operation Heat,” led to the arrest of 27 defendants on charges related to the possession and sale of illegal firearms, distribution of narcotics, and felony assault.