PROVIDENCE – A Providence man previously convicted in Rhode Island state court on felony drug charges and awaiting trial in state court on additional assault and firearm charges, has been detained in federal custody on unrelated drug trafficking and weapons charges, following an ATF and Providence Police investigation that determined the man was allegedly delivering fentanyl to customers in Massachusetts, at times trading for firearms as payment.
It is alleged in court documents that two individuals confirmed to ATF agents that they purchased fentanyl from Joaquin Fabian, 23, one claiming they exchanged firearms as payment.
According to court documents, beginning in January 2021, ATF agents, with the assistance of Providence Police, employing various surveillance techniques, determined that on several occasions Fabian allegedly drove to Southeastern Massachusetts to conduct his drug trafficking business. Law enforcement also surveilled Fabian participate in meetings in Providence that agents believe were related to his alleged drug trafficking activity. During this time, Fabian routinely changed vehicles and, at times, employed counter-surveillance techniques while driving.
It is alleged that on Wednesday, Fabian drove to Franklin, Massachusetts, consistent with past trips he made to meet with his drug customers. About an hour later, as law enforcement monitored Fabian’s social media accounts, Fabian allegedly posted a photograph of a handgun positioned in between what appeared to be his legs while seated in a motor vehicle. As Fabian returned to the area of his Providence residence, ATF agents and Task Force officers conducted a traffic stop of his vehicle. Fabian exited the vehicle, hesitated, grabbed towards his waistline consistent with the drawing of a firearm, and fled on foot. Agents quickly located and approached Fabian, who had his hands raised. Three cell phones were located on the ground beside him. A firearm, consistent with the firearm earlier posted in a photograph to Fabian’s social media account, was located nearby.
On Fabian’s person, agents allegedly found a packet containing 2.7 grams of fentanyl. In his vehicle agents located and seized a pound of marijuana. A court-authorized search of his residence resulted in the seizure of three plastic bags containing 70 grams of fentanyl, 439.9 grams of marijuana, three loaded magazines of ammunition, a box containing 44 rounds of ammunition, a plastic bag containing 249 rounds of various types of ammunition, and $18,802 in cash.
Fabian appeared on Thursday before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond on a federal criminal complaint charging him with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, possession of more than 40 grams of fentanyl with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
A federal criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Fabian’s arrest and detention are announced by Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of ATF Kelly D. Brady, and Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Ferland.