PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Robert Wilkins, 25, and Christian M. Domenech, 24, of West Warwick, were arrested today and ordered detained in federal custody following initial appearances in federal court in Providence on drug trafficking and bank fraud charges.
The two men were arrested following an investigation by the FBI Safe Street Task Force into the defendants’ alleged drug trafficking activities, and an investigation by the Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit into allegations of bank fraud.
Robert Wilkins’ and Christian Domenech’s arrest and detention on federal criminal complaints charging them with trafficking crack cocaine, trafficking heroin and bank fraud are announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division, and Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell,Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
At the time of their arrest, Wilkins and Domenech were free on court ordered conditions of release on unrelated crimes. Wilkins, after having been sentenced in federal court in November 2014 to serve a sentence of one year and a day for trafficking crack cocaine, was released to federal supervised release in November 2015. His supervised release was set to expire in November 2018.
At the time of his arrest, Domenech was free on bail on a state charge of trafficking heroin, brought by the Newport Police Department in November 2015. Additionally, according to court documents, Domenech was previously convicted in Rhode Island state court on drug trafficking charges.
Wilkins is charged with 15 counts of distribution of crack cocaine, 3 counts of distribution of heroin, and one count each of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine, conspiracy to distribute heroin and bank fraud. Domenech is charged with 12 counts of distribution of crack cocaine, 3 counts of distribution of heroin, and one count each of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine, conspiracy to distribute heroin and bank fraud.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to court documents, it is alleged that a three-month investigation by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force into the defendants alleged drug trafficking activity included numerous purchases from the defendants of crack cocaine and heroin, ranging from one gram to seven grams for between $80 dollars and $350 dollars. Each alleged transaction was monitored by law enforcement.
Additionally, according to court documents, a Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit investigation determined that beginning in December 2015, the defendants allegedly created and deposited bogus checks into bank accounts each established and withdrew some of those funds. It is alleged that Christian Domenech deposited a total of $10,000 in bogus checks and withdrew $2,000 in cash. It is alleged that Robert Wilkins deposited a total of $10,000 in bogus checks and withdrew at total of $2099.55.
Earlier today, FBI Safe Street Task Force agents, with the assistance of the West Warwick Police Department and the DEA, executed a court authorized search of the defendants’ Church Street, West Warwick, residence. An undetermined quantity of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and approximately $800 in cash were seized. Law enforcement also seized two vehicles parked at the residence.
The FBI’s Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force consists of agents and law enforcement officers from the FBI, RI State Police, Providence, Cranston, Woonsocket, and Central Falls Police Departments and the RI Adult Corrections Institutions.