Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
Armed Heroin Trafficker Pleads Guilty as Federal Jury Trial Begins
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Christian Montalvo, 40, of Providence, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to drug trafficking and firearm charges as jury selection was underway in his federal court trial, announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Montalvo pleaded guilty, as charged, to one count each of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute and being a felon in possession of a firearm. At sentencing, Montalvo, who previously was convicted in Rhode Island state court of felony assault and in Puerto Rico of multiple robberies, faces statutory penalties of up to 30 years in federal prison to be followed by lifetime supervised release. No plea agreement was filed in this matter.
According to court documents, as the result of an ongoing investigation into Montalvo’s drug trafficking activities, ATF agents on November 14, 2013, executed a court authorized federal search at Montalvo’s residence and of his vehicle. During the search, agents seized nearly 10 grams of heroin found stashed inside a void in a bedroom door; a loaded .38 caliber revolver and various items used in the preparation and distribution of heroin discovered in the kitchen; and more than 58 grams of heroin discovered inside a hidden compartment inside Montalvo’s vehicle.
According to court documents, Montalvo admitted to an ATF agent that the drugs and the firearm were his and that he had purchased the firearm for $200 from a heroin user for protection.
Montalvo has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on November 14, 2013. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi on January 30, 2015.
Possession of heroin with the intent to distribute is punishable by a statutory penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison; a fine of up to $1,000,000; and a life term of supervised release with a mandatory minimum term of 3 years. Being a felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by a statutory penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison; a fine of up to $250,000; and a 3-year term of supervised release.
Should the defendant be found by the court to be an armed career criminal, he could face a minimum term of 15 years and up to life in federal prison.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah. Providence Police assisted ATF in the investigation of this matter.
To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/