PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man was sentenced in Providence Count Superior Court to serve 15 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after pleading to 22 felony counts stemming from his lead role in a gang-related narcotics trafficking operation and several connected shootings in Providence in 2019.
The defendant was indicted by a Providence County grand jury in December 2019, following a year-long investigation by the Rhode Island State Police (RISP) into narcotics trafficking and violent crime in the greater Providence area, known as “Operation Heat.”
Janssye Toucet (age 35) entered a plea of guilty to 22 felony counts including assault with a dangerous weapon, discharge of a firearm while in the commission of a crime of violence, committing a drive-by shooting, and possession of a firearm after having previously been convicted of a crime of violence.
At a hearing on November 15, 2022, before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause, the Court sentenced the defendant to 35 years, with 15 years to serve at the ACI and a 20-year suspended sentence with 35 years of probation.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that in 2019, the defendant played a central role in a gang-related narcotics trafficking operation and several connected shootings in Providence that year.
During the year-long investigation, the RISP used court-authorized wiretap intercepts to develop evidence of the defendant’s key role in the narcotics trafficking operation and several shootings.
On May 20, 2019, Toucet, along with several co-defendants, developed and executed a plan to shoot several members of a rival gang outside of a club on Spruce Street in Providence. At approximately 1:10 a.m. two co-defendants drove up to the club, exited their vehicle, and fired 21 rounds from a .45 caliber firearm, seriously injuring two victims. The defendant orchestrated the shooting by supplying the firearm and instructing his co-defendant’s actions.
On June 16, 2019, Toucet, along with several co-defendants, developed and executed a plan to shoot several members of a rival gang at a club on Public Street in Providence. After their targets had left the club and drove away at approximately 9:50 p.m., Toucet and his co-defendants followed in several vehicles and exchanged gunfire with their targets through the streets of Providence.
During the shootout, at least one bullet went through a neighboring home on Stanwood Street. During the exchange of gunfire, the co-defendants mistakenly shot at each other, striking and seriously injuring one of their own.
Members of the Providence Police Department found numerous shell casings at the scene and later recovered a 9mm semi-automatic handgun with a large capacity magazine containing 21 rounds that belonged to the defendant.
On June 16, 2019, Toucet, along with several co-defendants, developed and attempted a plan to shoot a rival gang member. After the plan had been initiated, members of the RISP and Woonsocket Police Department apprehended several co-defendants at an apartment in Woonsocket where they seized a 9mm semi-automatic handgun.
Between April and June 2019, investigators developed evidence that Toucet and several co-defendants conspired on multiple occasions to traffic significant amounts of narcotics, including fentanyl pills and cocaine.
On February 17, 2022, a co-defendant, Luis Munoz Mercado, was convicted of 30 felony counts stemming from his role in the narcotics trafficking operation and sentenced to serve nine years at the ACI.
Detective Lieutenant Derek Melfi of the Rhode Island State Police and Assistant Attorneys General James Baum and Joseph McBurney of the Office of the Attorney General conducted the investigation and prosecution of the case.
Full list of charges
The defendant entered a plea of guilty to three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of discharge of a firearm while in the commission of a crime of violence, four counts of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon, one count of committing a drive-by shooting, three counts of conspiracy to possess a pistol without a license, two counts of possession of a firearm after having previously been convicted of a crime of violence, three counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver fentanyl, two counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver cocaine, one count of solicitation to sell a concealable weapon without proper paperwork, and one count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.