Andrew Rios, 41, of California, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court to 15.5 years in federal prison on drug trafficking charges, in connection with the seizure of 65 kilos of cocaine and more than $1.2 million in cash in North Kingstown in 2011.
The Woonsocket Police Department worked with the DEA and Rhode Island State Police in a joint partnership resulting in the bust, the largest cocaine seizure ever in Rhode Island.
U.S District Court Judge William E. Smith also ordered Rios to serve 5 years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. Rios pleaded guilty on Oct. 1, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one count of possessing with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
Two other defendants who were arrested with Rios previously pleaded guilty to trafficking charges and have been sentenced to lengthy federal prison sentences. Armando Saucedo, 33, of California, was sentenced on Nov. 1, 2012, to 156 months in prison; Adilson A. Reyes, 31, of Utah, was sentenced Nov. 5, 2012, to 135 months in prison.
Beginning in September 2010, federal, state and local law enforcement agents, working in conjunction with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office, developed information about the trafficking of cocaine from outside of Rhode Island into the state. As a result, law enforcement monitored activity at hotels in West Greenwich and Pawtucket, at a storage facility in North Kingstown, and several vehicles. In January 2011, law enforcement agents executed court authorized searches of the storage facility in North Kingstown and of two vehicles. 65 kilos of cocaine, $1.2 million in cash and a firearm were seized.
The cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra R. Hebert and Paul F. Daly, Jr.