U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
District of Rhode Island
For Immediate Release
Friday, December 9, 2011
Peter F. Neronha, United States Attorney
Contact: Jim Martin
Armed Career Criminal Convicted on Federal Drug Trafficking & Firearms Charges; Faces up to Life in Federal Prison
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Providence man previously convicted of numerous crimes of violence including drug trafficking crimes was convicted on Thursday by a federal jury in Providence of trafficking heroin and crack cocaine, being in possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Shelton Smalls, 42, faces up to life in federal prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi on March 2, 2012.
Smalls’ conviction was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Pare.
According to testimony presented to the jury during a two–day trial, on April 26, 2011, detectives assigned to the Providence Police Department Narcotics and Organized Crime Bureau were conducting surveillance in a restaurant parking lot where drug dealing was believed to be prevalent. Detectives watched as a person sitting in a parked vehicle exited his vehicle and got into Smalls’ vehicle moments after Smalls arrived. In a meeting that lasted less than 30 seconds, detectives say they witnessed what they believed to be a drug transaction when Smalls provided what appeared to be small packets in exchange for cash.
Immediately after the transaction was completed, the person exited Smalls’ vehicle while placing the purchased items into a pants pocket. He then walked directly into the restaurant and into a restroom followed by an undercover detective. He voluntarily retrieved packets of heroin and crack cocaine that he had just purchased from Smalls from his pocket and turned them over to the detective. While he was being taken into custody, the arresting detective notified detectives outside the restaurant who then approached and placed Smalls into custody. Smalls later admitted to police that he had additional drugs stored at his residence.
Smalls voluntarily accompanied police to his residence where he provided access to an apartment where his wife and children were located and then into an upstairs apartment he was also using. In the upstairs apartment detectives discovered a .357 revolver and a .22 caliber handgun in a laundry basket; and then located heroin, crack cocaine, $1,300 in cash and assorted drug trafficking supplies in a safe to which Smalls also provided access. Detectives had already seized $853 in cash from Small’s pockets.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gerard B. Sullivan and Leslie J. Kane.
The matter was investigated by the Providence Police Department with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.