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Cocaine in Rhode Island Case Was Mailed In ‘Safes’ From The Virgin Islands

mary m lisi

        Judge Mary M. Lisi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Juan C. Maldonado, 31, of Providence, was sentenced this summer to 36 months in federal prison for participating in a conspiracy to trafficking cocaine, according to U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha and Bruce Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations for New England.

At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi also ordered Maldonado to serve three years supervised release upon completion of his prison term. Maldonado pleaded guilty on March 13, 2015, as charged in a federal indictment, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of attempting to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.

According to information presented to the court, on July 2, 2014, during an inbound inspection from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Customs and Border Protection agents in Puerto Rico discovered two packages which contained safes, each with 4 kilograms of cocaine inside, addressed to recipients in Providence. One was addressed to a house where the defendant, his girlfriend and his brother, Elix Javier, 24, were living. The second package was addressed to a residence where the defendant’s mother, sister and others were living.

On July 7, 2014, an undercover postal inspector delivered the first package to the address where Juan Maldonado was living.  The postal inspector was greeted at the door by Mr. Maldonado, who called out for his brother who then signed for and accepted the package. Approximately twenty minutes later, Mr. Maldonado and another individual exited the house. Agents seized a black bag Maldonado was carrying. Inside the bag was the package containing the safe and cocaine delivered by the undercover postal inspector.

Following Maldonado’s arrest, a court authorized search of his residence resulted in the seizure of a shoebox with two digital scales, approximately 80 gross grams of ground up acetaminophen or Tylenol, baggies, and other cutting agents used in the packaging and sale of narcotics.

As agents entered the residence, Elix Javier fled through a back door. He remained a fugitive until his arrest on July 24, 2014, in Lynn, Massachusetts. Elix Javier was acquitted at trial by a jury on March 26, 2015, of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and one count of aiding and abetting.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.

The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations with the assistance of U.S. Postal Inspectors, R.I. State Police HIDTA Task Force, DEA and Warwick Police Department.




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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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