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Arrangements to sell a firearm and meth allegedly made from inside the Rhode Island state prison

PROVIDENCE – A Providence woman and an inmate in the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institution (ACI) have been charged in federal court in Providence with being a felon in possession of a firearm and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

It is alleged in court documents that on October 8, 2020, Tyler Bagley, 28, while incarcerated in the ACI on unrelated state charges, telephoned his then girlfriend, Bernice Chase, 38, and, using coded language, instructed her to call a phone number he provided to her to arrange for the sale of a firearm that he previously obtained. It is alleged that Chase called the number and arranged to meet the next day with an individual in a parking lot in Pawtucket to provide him with a Glock9mm pistol in exchange for $450. About an hour after the transaction was completed, Bagley telephoned Chase and instructed her to deposit $200 into his prison account and for her to keep the remainder of the proceeds.

It is alleged that approximately one month after the sale of the firearm, Bagley called Chase and, using coded language, instructed Chase to contact the person who purchased the firearm and arrange to sell him methamphetamine. The two met the next day in the parking lot in Pawtucket where Chase allegedly provided the individual 15 grams of meth in exchange for $800. About an hour after the transaction was completed, Chase informed Bagley that the transaction resulted in a profit of $300. Bagley instructed Chase to deposit half in his prison account and told her she could keep the rest. Bagley was released from prison three days later.

It is further alleged in court documents that four days after Bagley’s release from prison, Chase contacted the person to whom she sold the firearm and meth and arranged to sell him 29.4 grams of meth in exchange for $1,400. She asked the person not to let Bagley know of the transaction, and she warned him that the meth was strong and that “someone had dropped the other day” from using her supplier’s meth and not to use it “too crazy, cause they’ll drop.” A week later, Chase allegedly arranged for another sale of meth to the same person.

The person to whom Chase allegedly sold the firearm and the methamphetamine was, in fact, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives undercover agent.

Bagley and Chase, both convicted felons, have been charged by way of a federal criminal complaint. Bagley is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; Chase is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and distribution of methamphetamine, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Kelly D. Brady.

Chase appeared Wednesday before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan and was released on unsecured bond. Bagley, presently incarcerated in the ACI, is scheduled to make an initial appearance before a U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge on December 23, 2020.

A federal 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 Zechariah Chafee.

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