Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Cranston man was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve four years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) stemming from a joint investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the Cranston and Providence Police Departments into the trafficking of ghost guns.

Romeo Chet (age 20) pleaded nolo contendere to one count of possession of a ghost gun and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

At a hearing on May 13, before Superior Court Justice Linda Rekas Sloan, the court sentenced Chet to 10 years at the ACI with four years to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation.

“This case involved all of the ingredients that are driving violence on our streets today: drug dealing, untraceable ghost guns, and large capacity magazines – which should be but are not yet illegal in Rhode Island. The sole purpose of a ghost gun is to be used in criminal activity. When combined with large capacity magazines, they have the potential to wreak havoc on our streets. Unfortunately, they too often do,” said Attorney General Neronha. “I am grateful to ATF and the Providence and Cranston Police Departments for their partnership with this office and their continued strong work to reduce violence by seizing firearms and large capacity magazines throughout Rhode Island’s urban core.”

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on February 25, 2021, investigators from the ATF and Cranston and Providence Police Departments executed a search warrant at Chet’s residence on Cranston Street in Cranston, and recovered a ghost gun, a high-capacity pistol magazine, various ammunition, and cocaine.

Investigators executed the search warrant following a month-long investigation into ghost gun trafficking in the greater Providence area.

From Chet’s residence, investigators seized a 9mm semi-automatic pistol without identifying marks; a partially loaded 30-round 9mm pistol magazine; various amounts of 9mm and .380 caliber ammunition; and 7.7 grams of cocaine packaged into 17 small bags.

“Trafficked firearms represent a danger to our community, because they can end up in the hands of convicted felons, violent criminals, and many other kinds of people who are prohibited from having firearms,” said Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Boston Field Division. “This successful investigation and prosecution is a testament to our terrific partnerships with the Cranston and Providence Police Departments and the RI Attorney General’s Office. It is also a reflection of our commitment to aggressively pursuing firearms traffickers in our communities.”

“Firearms that can be assembled after purchasing individual components online without markings or serial numbers are the weapon of choice for felons and other career criminals seeking to avoid identification by law enforcement,” said Cranston Police Chief Colonel Michael Winquist. “I commend the General Assembly for passing the law that makes these weapons illegal in Rhode Island. Members of the Cranston Police, Providence Police, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and prosecutors from the Office of the Rhode Island Attorney General should also be credited with investigating the case that led to the arrest, conviction, and appropriate sentence.”

“With the vast number of illegal guns on the streets, it has become a focus of law enforcement officials to remove these dangerous weapons from the hands of criminals, especially those that are manufactured to circulate among violent offenders throughout our communities in an attempt to be undetectable,” said Steven M. Paré, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety. “I commend the work of the Attorney General’s Office, the Providence Police Department, the Cranston Police Department and the ATF for their investigation and prosecution in this case, as this is an ongoing issue in a number of communities within our state.”

Assistant Attorney General Joseph McBurney of the Office of the Attorney General, Detective Ronald Fuoroli of the Cranston Police Department, Detective Theodore Michael of the Providence Police Department, and Special Agent Christian Jardin of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives led the investigation and prosecution of the case.

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