PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Pawtucket man has been ordered detained in federal custody for allegedly conspiring to take possession of more than a kilogram of cocaine shipped from Columbia packed inside an old-model-tube television.
Jomar Cruz-Aponte, 25, is charged by way of a federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess 500 grams or more of cocaine with intent to distribute.
It is alleged in charging documents that on December 22, 2021, for the second time in nine days, U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted a package shipped to Rhode Island from Columbia, manifested as containing an “old TV without commercial value.” The first package, addressed to a Central Falls residence, was found to contain an older, dial-operated television with 300 grams of cocaine stored inside. The second package, earmarked to be delivered by UPS to a Pawtucket residence, was found to contain a second tube model TV that contained 1093 grams of cocaine stored inside.
On December 29, 2021, after removing the cocaine from the second television, Homeland Security Investigations coordinated a controlled delivery of the package with the Pawtucket Police Department. An undercover Pawtucket Police Officer, posing as a UPS driver, delivered the package to the front steps of the residence. A female retrieved the package then quickly placed it back on the steps. A short time later, Cruz was allegedly observed by members of law enforcement walking around the neighborhood at the same time as a vehicle was seen slowly making its way through the area. Later, Cruz approached the front of the residence from the backyard, retrieved the package, and walked back through the rear of the property to a nearby street where he got into the vehicle seen earlier by law enforcement. Pawtucket officers observed the vehicle leave the area and, after a brief surveillance, effected a car stop. Cruz allegedly quickly opened the passenger door and lunged from the vehicle, with the package in hand. He allegedly then threw the package to the ground and attempted to flee but was unable to do so because of the large police presence.
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 William J. Ferland.