PROVIDENCE – A Providence man, arrested in April 2021 moments after he claimed a package that was found by investigators to contain nearly two kilograms of cocaine shipped from Puerto Rico, pled guilty in federal court on Wednesday to possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and using a communication device to facilitate the commission of a drug felony, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
The cocaine was concealed inside the heavily wrapped package whose contents had been wrapped in duct tape, spray foamed, and wrapped again with birthday gift wrap.
According to court documents and information presented to the court, on April 15, 2021, moments after a Postal Service employee was unable to make a controlled delivery of the package, addressed to “Jose Azcona,” to a Providence residence, the postal worker was approached by an individual claiming to be a relative of Azcona. This person claimed the package contained medication for his relative and asked that he be allowed to take custody of it, but he was informed that the addressee would have to inquire about a redelivery and personally claim the package. Two days later, after a series of telephone calls inquiring about the package were received by the Postal Service, Robinson Padilla-Rosario, 38, claiming to be Azcona, retrieved the package. He was arrested as he left the post office, and found to be in possession of a fake Rhode Island driver’s license bearing his photograph; the name Jose A. Azcona; and the address to which the package had been mailed. Investigators also discovered evidence on a cellphone in Padilla-Rosario’s possession that he had been using an app to communicate with a person in Puerto Rico; those communications included an image of the Postal Service redelivery slip for the package containing the cocaine.
Padilla-Rosario is scheduled to be sentenced on August 16, 2022. The defendant’s sentence will be determined by a federal district judge after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ly T. Chin.
The matter was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Rhode Island State Police.