Police Digest

Posted 12/2/20

Police: Drugs, handgun, cash seized in bust A city resident is facing multiple drug charges following a Nov. 23 bust done in coordination with the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force, according to Cranston Police. Nico German Jr., 19, of 19 Crossway Road,

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Police Digest


Police: Drugs, handgun, cash seized in bust

A city resident is facing multiple drug charges following a Nov. 23 bust done in coordination with the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force, according to Cranston Police.

Nico German Jr., 19, of 19 Crossway Road, faces three counts of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance and charges of possession of a firearm while committing a crime of violence and maintaining a common nuisance, police said a statement.

Following his arrest, German was held without bail pending a scheduled bail hearing in Superior Court on Dec. 1.

According to police, members of the Cranston Police Special Investigations Unit and task force personnel executed a federal arrest warrant at German's home on the morning of Nov. 23 "relative to an FBI investigation regarding a stolen goods operation."

German was taken into custody without incident on the federal warrant, the statement reads, while detectives participating in the action "observed illegal contraband in the house and discovered a firearm that appeared to have been discarded out of a 2nd floor window during the arrest investigation."

At that point, eight other people inside the home "were secured in a common area" and the investigation was turned over to Cranston Police. A District Court search warrant for the home was subsequently obtained, police say, resulting in the discovery and seizure of a .45 caliber handgun, two pounds of marijuana, a quantity of hallucinogenic mushrooms, THC edibles, a "large amount of firearm ammunition," a bulletproof vest and $22,000 in cash.

"This location has gained the attention of this police department for the past year and was the same location in which we responded to a drive-by-shooting in August of this year where numerous bullets were fired," Cranston Police Maj. Todd Patalano said in the statement. "We will continue to identify individuals and rid the city of these individuals who participate in this illegal activity and attract a negative element to the city."

Authorities: Cranston man directed stolen vehicles scheme

A Cranston man is among nine people indicted on federal charges in connection with a series of alleged schemes to steal and sell nearly $700,000 worth of excavators, sport boats, jet skis, all-terrain vehicles and trailers in multiple states, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman.

Jose A. Montes, 36 - also known as Jose Rivera and "Turo" - is alleged to have directed the conspiracy, federal authorities say. He was named in an indictment that was unsealed in U.S. District Court in Providence on Nov. 23.

The 13-count indictment includes charges of interstate transportation of stolen property, receipt of stolen goods and conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property. Also named are Krystal K. Disano, 26, of Sarasota, Florida; Sorina Cruz, 43, of Cranston; Daniel J. Guerriero, 34, of North Scituate; Ronald S. Mosca, 48, of Sarasota, Florida; Irvin W. McLaughlin, Jr., 40, of Connecticut; Efrain A. Lopez, 32, of Providence; Jared J. Santiago, 28, of Providence; and Luis M. Morales, 37, of Providence.

According to prosecutors, the charges stem from an investigation initiated by Johnston and North Providence police in coordination with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. It was later merged with a "parallel investigation" on the part of Rhode Island State Police, Connecticut State Police and police departments in Easton, Massachusetts, and Hampstead, New Hampshire.

The investigation found that "between November 2019 and July 2020, three Bobcat excavators, ten jet skis, four boats, eight all-terrain vehicles, and ten trailers valued at nearly $700,000 were stolen," according to Weisman's office.

The statement continues: "It is alleged that members of the conspiracy, often times using rented and stolen trucks, hauled away the stolen excavators, boats, jet skis, ATVs, and trailers from businesses in South Kingstown and Tiverton, RI; Auburn, Rehoboth, and Easton, MA; Waterford, Vernon, and Stafford, CT; and Hampstead, NH. Many of the stolen items were stored in Providence, Johnston, Warwick, North Providence, Scituate, and Glocester, R.I. Several of the stolen items were hauled to Florida to be sold.

"Two Bobcat excavators each valued at $60,000 and one valued at $75,000, were allegedly stolen from an Auburn, Mass., dealer between late Friday, April 10, 2020, and late Saturday April 11, 2020. Using GPS built into the equipment, the excavators were located on April 13, 2020, and recovered by law enforcement. Two of the excavators were discovered in Johnston. The third was found in North Providence. GPS data showed that two of the stolen machines were stored on a farm in North Scituate before being moved to Johnston. One of the excavators was brought briefly to a residence in Warwick.

"GPS data showed that the third excavator was first taken to a location in Glocester then moved to North Providence, where it was located and seized by law enforcement.

"An ATV stolen from a dealership in Hampstead, New Hampshire in July 2020 was discovered on Gallup Street in Providence and towed by police to an impound facility. The ATV was subsequently stolen again from the impound."

Convicted meth trafficker gets 10 years in prison; Cranston co-conspirator awaits sentence

A Providence woman described by authorities as a "major pipeline" for methamphetamine trafficking into Rhode Island has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman.

Alexa Samoiloff, 51, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court. The sentence includes five years of supervised release following the 120-month prison term.

Samoiloff pleaded guilty in September to charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine; and three counts of distribution of five grams or more of methamphetamine, aiding and abetting.

Two others related to the trafficking investigation - Steven Robinson, 48, of Providence, and Jacob Abbruzzese, 46, of Cranston - are currently awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy with intent to distribute methamphetamine earlier this year, according to a statement from Weisman's office.

Prosecutors say Samoiloff was arrested by members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force in October 2019 after the execution of a search warrant at her residence. That search is said to have resulted in the seizure of 31 grams of crystal meth, along with "5 digital scales, an ammunition container with 109 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 10 knives, 3 swords, a crossbow, multiple cell phones, hypodermic needles, and various items used in the packaging and distribution of methamphetamine," the statement reads.

Samoiloff - who was on probation related to a drug trafficking conviction at the time of her arrest - is said to have admitted in court that she had "facilitated drug deals from, among other places, her apartment and from motel rooms."

"She often provided instructions using an encrypted app to others working at her direction," the statement reads. "Payments for meth in furtherance of the conspiracy were often sent to her via Walmart/MoneyGram wire transfers."

During the course of the investigation, members of the FBI task force are said to have "conducted nine undercover purchases from members of the conspiracy of between 7 and 46 grams of methamphetamine, also known as 'ice,' that proved to be at least 90% pure."

The Cranston Police Department is among the law enforcement agencies represented on the task force.

School vandalized; suspects sought

Cranston Police are seeking three suspects in a vandalism that occurred at Glen Hills Elementary School last month.

According to a social media post, the suspects caused more than $2,500 worth of damage to the school. Images of the suspects taken from security camera footage have been circulated by police.

According to Maj. Todd Patalano, the incident occurred between 9:20 and 10 p.m. on Nov. 21. The suspects, he said, “climbed onto the roof and inflicted substantial damage to the rooftop AC units.”

Anyone with information about the incident or the suspects is asked to contact Detective Lee Sohn at 401-477-5147.

“Detectives are working on some leads and we are confident we will identify the individuals responsible,” Patalano said.

-- Daniel Kittredge

police, crime


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