U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
District of Rhode Island
For Immediate Release
November 21, 2011
Peter F. Neronha, United States Attorney
Contact: Jim Martin
Two Sentenced in Woonsocket Firearms & Drug Trafficking Probe
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two men charged in a joint federal and local law enforcement investigation into firearms and drug trafficking in Woonsocket, R.I., were sentenced Friday to federal prison. Anthony Otero, 39, of Bronx, N.Y., was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release; and Aaron M. Swan, 24, of Woonsocket, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release.
The sentences were announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Guy N. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas S. Carey.
In June 2011, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies publicly disclosed details of a two-year joint investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Woonsocket Police Department Special Squad and federal agents from ATF targeting illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking throughout the city of Woonsocket. To date, nineteen individuals have been federally charged; more than three dozen firearms have been seized; and substantial amounts of crack cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy pills and other drugs have been seized.
The investigation was launched at the request of Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas Carey, who requested the assistance of the U.S. Attorney and the ATF to prioritize targets posing significant threats to the residents of Woonsocket. The target list included individuals who, according to Woonsocket Police, were compromising the quality of life in various Woonsocket neighborhoods by selling and possessing firearms, dealing drugs and invading homes.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith in August 2011, Anthony Otero and Aaron Swan admitted to being involved in multiple sales of firearms to undercover agents and pleaded guilty to various firearms charges. At the time of his arrest, Otero was in possession of a handgun, a shotgun and body armor. In addition to pleading guilty to firearm charges, Swan also pleaded guilty to drug charges.
The cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gerard B. Sullivan and Richard W. Rose.