Providence Man Indicted on Drug Trafficking, Firearm Charges
PROVIDENCE - A federal grand jury on Tuesday returned an eight-count indictment charging a Providence man with trafficking fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine, and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to court documents, in August 2018, Newport Police detectives launched an investigation into the alleged drug trafficking activities in Newport of Franklin Valenzuela, 23.
The investigation included purchases of fentanyl by a Newport detective allegedly from Valenzuela.
During the course of the investigation it was learned that Cranston Police detectives were also investigating Valenzuela’s alleged drug trafficking activities.
On August 31, 2018, an undercover Newport Police detective ordered a quantity of heroin from Valenzuela, who allegedly agreed to deliver the heroin to an apartment complex in Newport.
On that date, Newport and Cranston Police and members of the Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force established surveillance in the area of the apartment complex in Newport and of Valenzuela’s Providence residence.
Valenzuela was surveilled as he left his residence in Providence and drove to Newport. Officers moved in and took Valenzuela into custody as he entered the apartment complex parking lot.
As Valenzuela exited the vehicle, several small bags of heroin allegedly fell from Valenzuela’s lap. He was also found to be in possession of $1,393 in cash. According to court documents, Valenzuela consented to a search of his Providence residence, where law enforcement allegedly seized 75 grams of cocaine and 18 grams of crack cocaine in small plastic bags, 423 grams of marijuana, a disassembled firearm and $7, 807 in cash.
Also seized was a bag containing an unknown quantity of fentanyl. Due to the dangerousness of fentanyl, per DEA policy, the narcotics were immediately placed in sealed evidence bags and sent to the Northeastern Regional Laboratory to be tested.
On Tuesday, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Franklin Valenzuela with possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute heroin; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute fentanyl; distribution of cocaine; distribution of fentanyl; and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The indictment of Valenzuela is announced by United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division Brian D. Boyle, Newport Police Chief Gary T. Silva, and Cranston Police Chief Colonel Michael J. Winquist.
An arraignment date has not yet been scheduled for Franklin Valenzuela who is presently detained at the ACI as a probation violator on a previous Rhode Island state court conviction.
An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald R. Gendron.