WOONSOCKET — A 46-year-old city man faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison after pleading guilty yesterday to federal charges of selling cocaine from an auto repair business in the city.
Pablo Marino Chala, 46, formerly of 89 Bourdon Boulevard, also faces at least four years of supervised release when he is sentenced in May, U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha said.
Chala pled guilty in U.S. District Court Tuesday to one count of distributing 28 or more grams of crack cocaine and two counts of distributing crack cocaine.
Chala’s drug-dealing activities were targeted as part of a long-term, joint Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force and Woonsocket Police Department investigation into drug trafficking in Woonsocket.
According to court records, Chala sold crack cocaine from his business, Arnold’s Tire & Auto. He admitted in court that he sold a combined 102 grams of cocaine, or slightly less than four ounces, on three occasions between January and June 2011.
The same person purchased all of the cocaine during transactions monitored by DEA agents and the Woonsocket police, according to Neronha.
A resident alien from the Dominican Republic, Chala was arrested shortly after the third transaction, which took place on June 28. He has been detained since his arrest.
He is to be sentenced before U.S. Judge John J. McConnell Jr. on May 3. Chala faces up to 80 years in federal prison, with a minimum mandatory sentence of five years; up to lifetime supervised release, with a minimum mandatory four years; and up to $7 million in fines.