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Monday, January 3, 2011

One Officer Pleads Guilty, Charges Dropped Against Another

Providence officer pleads; charges dropped against 2nd
The Journal by Gregory Smith - December 29, 2010

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch Wednesday morning dropped his prosecution of Providence police narcotics Detective Robert M. Enright, who was charged in the Operation Deception investigation of a drug ring in which four policemen were implicated in criminality. Enright, 44, of 181 Burnt Hill Rd., Scituate, was charged with harboring Albert B. Hamlin, the convicted leader of the drug ring, and conspiracy to harbor Hamlin. And Sgt. Stephen T. Gonsalves, 47, of 146 Rankin Ave., Providence, entered a plea of no contest Wednesday to reduced charges in Superior Court. He pleaded to two counts of frequenting a narcotics nuisance, a misdemeanor, after having been charged with four felony counts of soliciting to buy drugs. Regarding Enright, Assistant Attorney General Matthew S. Dawson announced to Superior Court Judge Francis J. Darigan Jr. that the attorney general's office recently obtained new evidence that gave prosecutors concern that they would not be able to sustain a conviction against Enright. He moved to dismiss the case, and Darigan approved the motion. Enright and Gonsalves, who were indicted by a grand jury, have been suspended from duty without pay for months. Still suspended without pay, as well, are the other two Providence officers charged in the case: Narcotics Detective Joseph A. Colanduono, who has plead guilty to some charges in a plea bargain but has not yet been sentenced, and Patrolman Robert J. Hamlin Jr., Albert Hamlin's older brother, against whom charges remain pending. Gonsalves plead no contest -- the equivalent of guilty under Rhode Island law, the judge noted -- in connection with a plea bargain with Lynch. Gonsalves agreed to be sentenced to back-to-back one-year suspended prison terms with probation, and the judge imposed that sentence. The sergeant also agreed as a condition of his sentence that he will continue to receive substance abuse counseling and that he retire from the Police Department. Gonsalves apologized to the court, the state police and the attorney general's office "for putting them in this difficult situation." Operation Deception was a joint investigation by the state police and the FBI. And he also thanked the state police and the attorney general's office for their professionalism. He made no mention, however, of his own department, where he has been employed for 22 years. "You have not covered yourself with glory ...," Darigan told him. "Let's see if you can stay out of trouble. ..."

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