PROVIDENCE, RI – A Dominican national living in Providence faces sentencing in U.S. District Court and deportation proceedings after pleading guilty today to drug trafficking, firearm, and illegal reentry charges, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
Stevens Morales-Rivera, 46, who previously identified himself using several aliases, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, and illegally re-entry of a removed alien.
According to charging documents, in August 2021, a Newport Police Department Detective and other members of the Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force began a Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation into Morales-Rivera’s drug trafficking activities. The investigation included several DEA supervised purchases of cocaine from the defendant.
On October 19, 2021, members of the DEA Task Force conducted a court-authorized search of Morales-Rivera’s residence and seized six kilograms of cocaine, a .25 caliber semiautomatic pistol, a kilogram-press, $8,995 in cash, and various items used in the preparation and distribution of narcotics.
According to information presented to the court, at the time of his arrest, Morales-Rivera was found to have fingerprints on file with law enforcement under a different name; he had criminal records under two names, including a conviction in Massachusetts for trafficking cocaine; and he had been deported and re-entered the United States illegally.
Morales-Rivera, detained since his arrest in October 2021, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy on June 23, 2022. The defendant’s sentence will be determined by a federal district judge after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Michael Seaman.
The Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force is comprised of personnel from the DEA; United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General; Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation; Rhode Island State Police; the East Providence, Cranston, Coventry, Newport, North Kingstown, Pawtucket, Providence, South Kingstown, Warwick, West Warwick, and Woonsocket Police Departments; and Amtrak Police Department.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is 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.