PROVIDENCE – A Providence man found to be in possession of more than 384 grams of fentanyl, nearly 2,000 grams of heroin, and more than 2,260 grams of cocaine, and who was expecting to take possession of six kilograms of fentanyl before it was intercepted by law enforcement, was sentenced today to six years in federal prison.
Ronny B. Nova, a/k/a Benancio, 33, was arrested in August 2017, two years after members of the Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force and Cranston Police began an investigation into his drug trafficking activities.
As part of the investigation, in November 2015, a federal court-authorized search of a Cranston residence with ties to Nova resulted in the seizure of 2,269.3 grams of cocaine; 1,954.1 grams of heroin; and 348.4 grams of fentanyl. Three days prior to the execution of the search warrant, Nova sold an individual 2.5 grams of heroin.
According to court documents, in August 2017, Missouri State Police executed a traffic stop of a rental truck, inside of which they discovered six kilograms of fentanyl. The driver was arrested, and the fentanyl and the truck were seized. The driver told arresting troopers that he had driven from Baldwin Park, California, with the fentanyl, with instructions to drive the truck to a pre-determined location in Warwick, Rhode Island.
According to court documents, the DEA obtained a similar rental truck in Rhode Island, and on August 23, 2017, an undercover law enforcement officer, posing as the truck driver arrested in Missouri, drove the truck to the location that the truck carrying the six kilograms of fentanyl was to have been brought. Law enforcement watched as a vehicle driven by Nova entered the area, surveilled the truck, and then drove off. A short time later, the undercover officer posing as the person instructed to drive the truck containing the fentanyl to Warwick received a call and was directed to a different parking lot nearby. When the truck arrived at the second location, the same vehicle driven by Ronny Nova also arrived. As Nova exited the vehicle and began to approach the truck, law enforcement surrounded him. He attempted to flee on foot but was quickly apprehended and arrested. Nova was found to be carrying more than $12,800 in cash. He was to have paid the driver of the truck $12, 000 for delivering the drugs.
Nova pleaded guilty on November 14, 2019, as charged in a five-count indictment with possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy with intent to distribute fentanyl, attempt to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.
At sentencing today, U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. sentenced Nova to 72 months in federal prison to be followed by three years supervised release, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division Brian D. Boyle.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul F. Daly and William J. Ferland.
The Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force is comprised of personnel from the DEA and Providence, East Providence, Central Falls, Coventry, North Kingstown, Woonsocket, Cranston, Pawtucket, Newport, South Kingstown, Warwick, and West Warwick Police Departments, Rhode Island State Police, and Amtrak Police Department.