PROVIDENCE — A months-long probe into a large-scale gun and narcotics trafficking operation led detectives and federal agents to a 44-pound haul of marijuana and an arsenal of guns, including AR-15 rifles and ghost guns, according to Providence police.
Thursday's seizures in Providence and West Warwick, as well as the arrest of a man who is accused of trafficking guns and drugs, were celebrated Friday morning at a news conference.
Mayor Brett Smiley, Providence Police Chief Col. Oscar Perez, Attorney General Peter Neronha and other law enforcement leaders, including representatives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, took turns at a microphone, standing over an array of marijuana and 20 guns.
The investigation was carried out by Providence Police from the department's narcotics bureau working jointly ATF agents.
Background on the investigation
During the investigation, Providence Providence Police Detectives Pete Tesseris and Zach Silbert, as well as ATF Agent Chris Jardin and Agent Meg Croke, determined that a man was allegedly distributing large quantities of marijuana throughout the city and he possessed several illegal firearms, according to Providence Police.
The investigation led them to a house on Douglas Avenue in Providence on Thursday, and to a location on Cowesett Avenue in West Warwick, where West Warwick Police provided assistance.
Several of the guns seized were set up with high capacity magazines, said Providence police Detective Maj. David Lapatin.
Seven of the 20 seized guns were ghost guns, Lapatin said, adding that investigators seized hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
"Just by looking at this table in front of us, we know that there's lives that are saved," he said.
Along with the marijuana, which might be quite life-threatening to its unregulated production, Lapatin said.
The 38-year-old man at the center of the trafficking was arrested outside his apartment on Douglas Avenue at 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, Lapatin said.
"We are very happy that Providence is a little bit safer," said Smiley.
Said Perez, referring to the illegal guns and drugs, "It's not going to be tolerated."
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Providence, West Warwick police raids net illegal guns, marijuana