Providence police bust up $1M drug operation

Bryan Cortorreal and contraband seized by Providence Police

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A special intelligence and organized crime unit in the Providence police department has busted up a million-dollar drug operation in the capital city, recovering three-and-a-half kilograms of cocaine, three kilograms on fentanyl and more than 600 grams of heroin.

Bryan Cortorreal, 24 of Cranston, was arrested Monday night after a month-long undercover investigation, according to Maj. David Lapatin. A gun was also recovered.

“We’re really looking to take down big dealers in the city of Providence,” Lapatin said.

Lapatin said he couldn’t provide more details about the investigation, but indicated there could be more arrests.

Police said they pulled over Cortorreal while driving on Salina Street in the city’s North End Monday evening. They found three kilogram of cocaine in his car and then obtained search warrants for homes on Newcomb Street and Elmwood Avenue. That’s where they discovered the fentanyl and heroin.

Police also recovered a kilo press, which is used to crush up drugs in order for dealers to make a large profit off sales. Cortorreal’s car was also seized.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare praised the intelligence and organized crime unit, which was formed in 2015 to target larger drug traffickers. He said Monday’s bust is certain to save lives.

“When you see guns and drugs and money, it’s pretty significant,” Pare said.

“People are dying because of this.”

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan