Narcotics & Organized Crime Unit
In 2012, the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit (NOCU) continued in its three primary areas of responsibility: to investigate, manage, and prosecute all criminal cases involving narcotics and organized crime offenses, handling all aspects of asset forfeiture and representing the State of Rhode Island in the Providence County Adult Drug Court.
In the area of narcotics prosecution, the members of the Unit are responsible for representing the state in a variety of court proceedings, including trials, pre-trials, violation hearings and bail hearings. Unit prosecutors also are responsible for drafting and editing documents related to the electronic surveillance of targeted offenders, the management and oversight of electronic surveillance investigations, providing legal advice and assistance to police departments, working with law enforcement on investigating narcotics-related activity and presenting narcotics-related investigations to county and statewide grand juries. In 2012, the Unit opened approximately 101 cases each month and disposed of an average of 156 cases per month.
In addition to prosecuting all organized crime-related cases before trial juries, the Unit works closely with the police on both traditional and nontraditional organized crime-related cases. The Unit provides document support and case management on electronic surveillance cases involving alleged organized crime figures and works with police and other members of the criminal justice system to develop cooperating witnesses and confidential informants.
The attorneys assigned to NOCU also prosecute a variety of other criminal offenses. Due to the close relationship between the prosecution of narcotics-related offenses and the use of firearms, the Unit is responsible for prosecuting most of the cases on the Providence Superior Court’s Gun Calendar. Additionally, a member of the Unit is responsible for the coordination of firearms prosecution between state and federal authorities, communicating on a daily basis with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to review all firearms cases and to determine which jurisdiction is most appropriate to bring charges.
In 2012, NOCU continued to represent the state before the Providence Superior Court’s Adult Drug Court, a special court that handles cases involving offenders who are addicted to drugs. The court seeks to help such offenders through an extensive supervision and treatment program.
NOCU is also responsible for processing all narcotics, gambling and racketeering-related asset forfeitures. Proceeds from the sale of forfeited assets represent an important source of ongoing drug and crime suppression efforts of the state and local police. In 2012, the Unit processed $2,097,337 in total cash and property seized, and $1,925,355 in cash and property forfeited, with $1.2 million being in property and $667,975 in cash, which was distributed to state and local police law enforcement agencies and the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.