PROVIDENCE – A Pawtucket man who fled members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force on Tuesday during an investigation into his alleged drug trafficking activities was arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday in Fall River, Mass., and ordered detained today following his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence on drug trafficking charges, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.
According to court documents, over the past week members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force have been investigating the alleged drug trafficking activities of 24-year-old Luis Leon. Task force members had information that Leon was expecting to receive a large shipment of fentanyl. As part of the investigation task force members established surveillance of Leon’s residence. On Tuesday afternoon agents and officers saw an individual enter Leon’s residence carrying a large duffel bag. A short time later they observed Leon leave the residence and place the duffel bag in the back of a dark colored pickup truck and drive off. He was alone in the vehicle.
As law enforcement moved into position to follow the pickup truck they observed Leon repeatedly looking into his rear view mirrors at their vehicle. Investigators decided to attempt to effect a traffic stop, signaling the driver to stop by illuminating their flashing lights and engaging their siren. Leon failed to stop, instead driving away at a high rate of speed. Because of the reckless manner in which Leon was operating the truck, investigators did not further pursue the vehicle.
Law enforcement continued to drive the route Leon’s truck appeared to take, coming upon an accident scene a short distance away. Witnesses told police that a pickup truck struck a vehicle causing the vehicle to careen into a building. Witnesses told police the pickup truck fled the accident scene without stopping.
Several minutes later law enforcement learned that a pickup truck with heavy front end damage was pulled into a nearby parking lot and abandoned. A witness advised law enforcement that they saw the driver get out of the vehicle, toss a duffel bag into bushes nearby, and then run off. The description of the driver fit the description of Leon. Agents retrieved the bag which was found to contain approximately 634.4 grams of suspected fentanyl and approximately 429.5 grams of suspected cocaine.
Law enforcement developed information overnight Tuesday and on Wednesday morning that Leon was likely at a residence in Fall River. They established surveillance of the residence and arrested Leon Wednesday afternoon as he exited the residence.
Leon made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence today on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. He was ordered detained by Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan.