PROVIDENCE – A Dominican national living in Providence was arrested on Monday on a federal drug trafficking charge shortly after he allegedly retrieved a package from a Providence Post Office that contained more than two kilograms of cocaine shipped from Puerto Rico.
According to court documents, on April 15, 2021, Postal Service employees intercepted a heavily taped package shipped from Puerto Rico to a Providence residence. The packaging resembled packages law enforcement previously intercepted that were packaged in a way to avoid K-9 detection from the odor of controlled substances. Additionally, postal workers were unable to associate a “Jose A azcona” at the shipping address.
According to court documents, on April 15, shortly after a Postal Service employee attempted to make a controlled delivery of the package to the address on the package, the postal worker was approached by an individual claiming to be a relative of the addressee. The person claimed the package contained medication for his relative and requested to take custody of it. The individual was informed that the addressee would have to inquire about a redelivery and personally claim the package.
After a series of telephone calls to the Post Office, on April 17, a person claiming to be “Jose Azcona,” and another person, went to the Elmwood Post Office attempting to claim the package, but were told they would have to contact the redelivery unit. On April 19, having contacted the redelivery unit, “ Jose Azcona” was told he could retrieve the package at the main Post Office in Providence. In the meantime, a court-authorized search revealed the package contained approximately 2.22 kilograms of cocaine. “Jose Azcona,” accompanied by the second person, retrieved the package, and was detained by law enforcement in the parking lot.
Following his arrest, law enforcement determined that “Jose Azcona” was actually 37-year-old Robinson Padilla-Rosario. He was found to be carrying a Rhode Island driver’s license depicting his photograph and the name Jose A. Azcona, and a home address being the same address to which the package containing the cocaine was mailed. The driver’s license number on the license seized by law enforcement is assigned to another person with a North Providence address.
While reviewing Padilla-Rosario’s cell phone, it was discovered that he was using an online app to communicate with a person in Puerto Rico. Included in the communication was an image of the Postal Service redelivery slip for the package containing the cocaine.
Padilla-Rosario appeared in U.S. District Court on Tuesday and was ordered detained, charged by way of a federal criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and using a communication facility to facilitate a drug felony, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus, Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, and Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police Colonel James M. Manni.
According to court documents, Padilla-Rosario was issued a voluntary return to the Dominican Republic on February 15, 2004, after being encountered by Border Patrol in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
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 Ly T. Chin.