PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A convicted felon charged as the result of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and Providence Police Department Project Safe Neighborhoods firearm and drug trafficking investigation today pleaded guilty to federal firearm and drug charges in U.S. District Court, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.
Joaquin Fabian, 24, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
At the time of his arrest in this matter in April 2021, Fabian, who had previously been convicted and sentenced in Rhode Island state court on a drug trafficking charge, was free on bail while awaiting trial in state court on unrelated assault and firearm charges.
According to court documents and information presented to the court, beginning in January 2021, ATF agents and Providence Police, employing various surveillance techniques, determined that on several occasions Fabian drove to Southeastern Massachusetts to conduct his drug trafficking business. During this time, Fabian routinely changed vehicles and, at times, employed counter-surveillance techniques while driving.
On April 14, 2021, Fabian drove to Franklin, MA, consistent with past trips he made to meet with his drug customers. Fabian also posted a photograph online of a handgun positioned in between his legs while seated in a motor vehicle. As Fabian returned to the area of his Providence residence, ATF agents and Task Force officers conducted a traffic stop of his vehicle. Fabian exited the vehicle, hesitated, grabbed towards his waistline consistent with the drawing of a firearm, and fled on foot. Agents quickly located and approached Fabian, who had his hands raised. A Glock semi-automatic pistol, consistent with the firearm in the photograph, was located on the ground nearby.
Following Fabian’s arrest, ATF agents and Task Force members seized from his vehicle and his residence a total of 64.8 grams of cocaine, 1,030.9 grams of marijuana, three loaded magazines of ammunition, nearly 300 rounds of assorted ammunition, and $18,802 in cash.
Fabian is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Mary S. McElroy on March 2, 2022. Possession of a firearm by a prohibited person is punishable by statutory penalties of up to10 years in federal prison to be followed by a term of supervised release of 3 years. Possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute are punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment followed by 3 years of federal supervised release.
The case in federal court is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.