17 Individuals Arrested In Federal Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Investigation

By Micheal Bailey –

Earlier today, 250 members of federal, state, and local law enforcement, including four SWAT teams, fanned out in Providence, Cranston, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, North Smithfield, Fall River, Taunton, and Kissimmee, FL, with sixteen federal arrest warrants.

Today’s sweep was the result of a five month investigation of a wide-ranging street-level drug trafficking conspiracy. This investigation was led by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, DEA, and Providence Police Narcotics Bureau.

A seventeenth individual was arrested and charged by way of a federal criminal complaint.

During this investigation, more than three kilos of cocaine, 750 grams of fentanyl, 1,500 fentanyl pills disguised as Percocet, 500 grams of crack cocaine, and $100,000 in cash were seized.

The following individuals have been arrested and charged by indictment:

Victor Aponte Cirino, 22, Taunton, MA

Ramon Barriera, 50, of Providence (career offender currently on state probation) who was previous convicted in 2004 for drug trafficking, carrying a firearm during commission of a violent crime, in 2014 and 2015 for drug trafficking.

Miguel Colon, 35, of Providence who is currently on state probation and was previously convicted in 2016 for Possession of a firearm and drug trafficking.

Rafael Cruz, 72, of Providence who was previously convicted in 1988, 2008 and 2014 for drug trafficking. Cruz was convicted in 2002 of felony assault.

Juan Gonzalez, 44, of Providence who is currently on state probation and was previously convicted in 2004, 2015 and 2020 for drug trafficking. He was also convicted in 2020 of felony assault (firearm) and domestic assault by strangulation.

Nelson Hazin, 53, of Providence who was previously convicted in 1999, 2007 and 2015 for drug trafficking. In 2010, Hazin was convicted of possession of a firearm after conviction of a violent crime.

Anthony Lacoste, 30 of Woonsocket who is  currently on state probation and previously convicted in 2011 of breaking and entering. In 2013 and 2014 Lacoste was convicted of felony assault, carrying a firearm without a license.

Jonathan Masa Gonzalez, 21 of Providence who has no criminal record.

Ricardo Martinez, Jr., 34, of Providence who is currently on state probation and was previously convicted in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2020 for various drug and drug trafficking charges.

William Mendez, 46, of Cranston who is currently on state probation was previously convicted in 1995, 2008 and 2014 for drug trafficking. In 2002 he was convicted of assault with intent to murder, breaking and entering. In 2008 he was convicted of carrying a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

Maria Ortiz-Nieves, 40, of Providence who has no criminal record.

Kevin Restrepo, 30, of Providence and Kissimmee, FL who currently on state probation, bail violator and previously convicted in 2007 for felony assault and conspiracy. In 2009 he was convicted of drug possession. In 2013 he was convicted of assault, domestic violence, first-degree robbery, discharge of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Restrepo in addition to federal charges is currently charged in Rhode Island state court for  Assault with a dangerous weapon – firearm (2 counts), carrying a pistol without a license (2 counts), discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle creating substantial risk of death (2 counts), discharge of a weapon while committing a crime of violence (2 counts), conspiracy to possess a pistol without a license (2 counts), possession of a firearm after conviction of a felony (2 counts) and discharge of a firearm in a compact area.

Karla Rivera Rosa, 31, of Fall River who in addition to federal charges is charged in the Trial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with drug trafficking case (cocaine and oxycodone).

Felix Robles, 60, of Providence who was previously convicted in 2006, 2007 and 2009 of drug Trafficking.

Juan C. Rodriguez, 35, of Providence who is currently on state probation in Rhode Island and was previously convicted in 2005, 2007 and 2014 of various drug and drug trafficking charges.

Charles Sims, 57, of Providence who was previously convicted in 1984 of Robbery. In 1985, 1992 and in 2001 he was convicted of breaking and entering and assault. In 1986 he was charged with escape and assault by an inmate. In 1989 he was charged with escape. In 1996 he was charged with Inciting a riot (ACI). In 2006 he was charged with drug trafficking.

Juan Betancourt Sosa, 26, of New Bedford a career offender currently on bail and who was previously convicted in 2021 of Carrying a pistol without a license. In addition to current federal charges, Sosa is also charged in Rhode Island state court with possession of a pistol without a license, possession with intent to distribute one ounce to one kilo of cocaine.

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