PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — At least 35 people have been arrested in a widespread investigation across Providence into the sales of drugs and guns in local neighborhoods.
Multiple law enforcement entities were involved, including Providence Police, Rhode Island State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. But congratulations are being spread far and wide, to law enforcement from Newport to Woonsocket, for contributions in the battle against crime.
The announcement was made at a news conference at the Providence Public Safety Complex Thursday afternoon.
It all started about 18 months ago, when the city was experiencing several shootings and neighborhood disputes that turned violent, said Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare. Police enlisted state and federal partners to set down a strategic plan to investigate and identify the individuals who were causing the violence.
Mugshot photos of the nearly three dozen suspects were on display, as well as maps pinpointing connections out of state, including two suspects’ ties to North Carolina.
Over the course of infiltration of organizations, including a gang, police seized 15 weapons, including rifles, handguns and shotguns.
“These arrests and seizures do not end our investigation, or our commitment to investigate and bring to justice those who choose to destroy our communities with drugs and violence,” said Michael Ferguson, an Acting Special Agent in charge of the DEA. “This is not the end; it’s just the beginning.”
“The message is: if you are going to use guns, and drug deal in this city,” you are going to see the entirety of law enforcement in Southern New England “to dismantle and take you off the street,” said Commissioner Pare.