Suspected drug trafficker captured after interstate chase

REHOBOTH, Mass. (WPRI) — A suspected drug dealer wanted by Rehoboth police was captured following a chase that extended into Providence.

Rehoboth police took custody of Gilberto Oliveira-Mendes on Monday. He was arrested in Providence last week and held on a fugitive from justice charge.

According to police, Officer Craig Forget pulled over a moving truck driven by Oliveira-Mendes for a minor infraction on Withrop Street at about 4 p.m. When the officer approached the vehicle, the suspect took off towards Seekonk in an erratic manner, at speeds upwards of 70 miles per hour.

Officer Forget gave pursuit, which continued through Seekonk and East Providence and on to I-195 West towards Providence. Police said Oliveira-Mendes took the South Main Street exit, then abandoned his vehicle. With the assistance of Providence, East Providence, and Rhode Island State Police, Officer Forget was able to capture the suspect after a lengthy chase on foot.

Oliveira-Mendes, 21, of Taunton, was wanted on drug trafficking and distribution charges out of Rehoboth. On Dec. 17, police said he ran from the scene of a crash on County Street carrying a suitcase, which was later found abandoned in the woods nearby. It contained more than two kilograms of heroin, approximately 500 grams of cocaine, more than three pounds of marijuana, and approximately 300 Oxycodone pills, according to police.

Latesha Santos, 24, of Wareham, was arrested at the scene, but Oliveira-Mendes could not be found, and a warrant was put out for his arrest.

Oliveira-Mendes was scheduled to be arraigned Monday on charges connected to the Dec. 17 incident, including trafficking heroin, trafficking cocaine, and possession of a Class D substance with intent to distribute. Police said he will also face charges in connection with the Jan. 26 chase, including speeding, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop for police, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and failure to stop at a red light.

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