Rhode Island Man Pleads Guilty To Role In Drug Trafficking And Violent Kidnapping Conspiracy
BOSTON – A Pawtucket, R.I. man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to charges related to a violent kidnapping and witness retaliation and intimidation scheme.
Anthony Basilici, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, one count of possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by retaliating against a witness, victim or informant. U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled sentencing for Nov. 7, 2022. Basilici was charged along with 12 co-conspirators in a superseding indictment in March 2020.
“The defendant’s conduct is nothing short of horrifying. Mr. Basilici actively and willingly participated in a violent scheme to kidnap, beat and terrorize a victim who he wrongly believed was working with law enforcement. Additionally, he possessed a firearm for the purpose of facilitating the heroin trafficking conspiracy that he was involved in,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “This case is another example of how drug trafficking activities drive violence in our communities. Pursuing drug traffickers and violent criminals is a top priority of my administration. We will find and prosecute those who threaten the health and safety of our communities. They will be removed from the neighborhoods they terrorize and harm.”
“As we all know, drug trafficking in our communities, along with the gun and physical violence that often accompanies it, is a serious threat to our families and communities,” said Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division. “This is unacceptable and will not be allowed to happen. DEA and its local, state and federal partners are dedicated to bringing to justice those that commit these crimes.”
This case arose from a 2018 investigation into a wide-ranging heroin trafficking conspiracy in the Cape Cod area.
According to court documents, in 2019, law enforcement began investigating a Cape Cod drug trafficking organization (DTO), allegedly led by Edwin Otero. It is alleged that Otero and his co-conspirators distributed large quantities of heroin throughout Cape Cod, including Hyannis, Mashpee, Centerville and Osterville as well as Pawtucket, R.I. Interceptions from Otero’s phone identified Basilici as a key member of the DTO.
On May 8, 2019, Basilici and, allegedly, others were involved in a shooting at a co-conspirator’s residence related to a drug debt allegedly owed Otero. Basilici was intercepted as he discussed hiding in the woods after the shooting, and changing his phone number to avoid arrest. Intercepted communications showed Basilici and, allegedly, others speaking in code about finding and hiding guns used in the shooting.
Additionally, according to court documents, in April 2019, Basilici’s co-conspirators lured a victim from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, where they kidnapped and held him, stripped him naked, assaulted and threatened to rape him, and then took his clothing and cell telephone. The purpose of this kidnapping and assault was to retaliate against the victim because the co-conspirators erroneously believed the victim was cooperating with law enforcement, and the assailants repeatedly yelled at the victim for being a “rat.” Basilici, for his part, video recorded the assault—which lasted over 18 minutes. Basilici provided this video to Otero, who further intimidated or attempted to intimidate other witnesses after the kidnapping by sharing the video with numerous others.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin provides for a sentence of up to 40 years in prison, a minimum of five years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of $5 million. The charge of possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping provides for a sentence of up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice by retaliating against a witness, victim, or informant provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
U.S. Attorney Rollins, DEA SAC Boyle, Barnstable Police Chief Matthew K. Sonnabend and Barnstable County Sheriff James M. Cummings, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Pohl and Lauren Graber of Rollins’ Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.