Stealing someone’s identity is a crime. Operating a drug stash house is also a crime. Drug trafficking is – you guessed it – yet, another serious criminal offense. Add all three law-breaking activities together and you have a prison sentence lasting between seven and fifty-seven years awaiting you. Such is the reality for 30 year-old, Jeurin “Tony” Celado of Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
As reported this week, by the District of Rhode Island branch of the United States Department of Justice, Celabo has admitted his indiscretions to a federal court judge. The Dominican national has confessed to operating a drug stash house and arranging for the sale of fentanyl on at least four occasions. He also used the identity of an individual unknown to him. It included the person’s Social Security number and other personal identifying information.
Celabo’s scheme was all in the name of gaining benefits he wasn’t entitled to.
They included Rhode Island Medicaid benefits and Rhode Island driver’s licenses and permits. According to court documents, Celado has been committing his offences since 2010. Using the name, date of birth and Social Security number of the unknown person, he gained permits and driver’s licenses from the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). He most recently did so in August of 2019.
Between August 2014 and July 2018, Celado used the same stolen identity, Social Security number and date of birth to obtain Rhode Island Medicaid benefits. To be clear, as a non-United States citizen, Celado was not eligible to receive this health insurance. Nevertheless, he obtained Medicaid benefits to the tune of more than $4,300.
In 2019, Celado became the target of an undercover drug investigation.
Conducted by the Woonsocket Police Department, the investigation revealed that on four occasions, someone contacted Celado, assuming his name was “Tony”. On each occasion, an arrangement to purchase fentanyl was made. As “Tony”, Celado directed the person to a location to meet a “runner” who illegally sold him the drugs in exchange for cash.
“On October 7, 2019, law enforcement executed a court-authorized search of an apartment in Manville used by Celado as a stash house, where he stored, cut, and packaged fentanyl he sold as part of his drug operation,” reveals the DoJ report, “Investigators located between 40 and 400 grams of fentanyl in the apartment, along with other items consistent with a drug distribution operation.”
Sentencing is scheduled for July 9, 2021.
Celado faces statutory penalties of five to 40 years imprisonment, says the DoJ. As noted, he faces a multitude of charges including conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, health care fraud, false representation of a Social Security number and aggravated identity theft. “In total, Celado faces between seven and fifty-seven years imprisonment to be followed by five years of federal supervised release,” the report clarifies.
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