Providence police nab 15 in Kennedy Plaza sting

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Klonopin, Xanax, Clonazepam, Amphetamine, and Cocaine. Those were just some of the drugs police found being sold at Kennedy Plaza during a two-month long sting operation.

Mayor Jorge Elorza, Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré, and Providence Police Chief Col. Hugh Clements Monday morning announced the arrest of 15 men and women in an investigation they said was aimed at combating street-level drug dealing in Kennedy Plaza and the surrounding downtown area.

“If you come to Kennedy Plaza to commit crime or be involved in any illegal activity, you can certainly expect that you are going to be arrested,” said Commander Thomas Oates of the Providence Police Department.

Many of the accused drug dealers have lengthy criminal records, with some arrests dating back more than 30 years. Ronnie Walker, a 52-year-old charged with intent to sell on April 11, has been arrested more than 25 times dating back to 1985, according to court records. Denise Fernandez, 35, has been arrested 15 times since 2002. She was charged with intent to sell April 4.

Others charged in the sweep include Clifford Ryerson, 60; Nelson Ramos, 27; Patricia Pennacchia, 33; Griselis Rodriguez, 49; Marc Anthony, 34; Mark Clements, 35; Ricky Henault, 52; Richard Hall, 44; James Coutcher, 48; Lee Gordon, 35; Jeremy Amaral, 41; and Robert Rebello, 32.

“There are others we are looking for as a result of this undercover operation and there will be more arrests,” Paré said. “So if you are selling drugs, you may be selling to an undercover providence police officer.”

Elorza said the sting was important to keeping the Providence community healthy.

“With a surge in overdoses across the state, it was important,” Elorza said. “And in face imperative, that we remove these dangerous substances from our streets.”

According to police, narcotics detectives used information from a confidential source to have a number of controlled purchases from dealers.

“That illegal dealing at this level results in robberies, results in other street violence that happens and was happening here in the plaza,” Oates added.

The latest sting comes nearly three years after a similar bust resulted in the arrest of 21 individuals in and around Kennedy Plaza.

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