Pawtucket man sentenced for pot operation

Pawtucket man sentenced for pot operation

PAWTUCKET - Attorney Gen. Peter Kilmartin announced Thursday that Superior Court Justice Daniel Procaccini sentenced Oral Swaby, 41, with a last known address of 373 Fountain St., to 20 years, with six years to serve and the remainder suspended with probation, for his role in an illegal marijuana distribution operation. Swaby plead nolo contendere to eight charges, including one count of possession of a controlled substance in excess of five kilos, possession with intent to deliver, two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, and four counts of conspiracy.

Had the case proceeded to trial, state prosecutors say they were prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Swaby was a key player in the illegal marijuana distribution operation, according to a news release.

The Pawtucket Police Department received information from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration that a suspicious pallet was to be delivered to Mike’s Motorcycles on Fountain Street on Dec. 13, 2011. Pawtucket Police, DEA and Immigration and Customs Enforcement established surveillance on the location and on Dec. 13, 2011, observed a tractor-trailer pull up to the address and unload a pallet. Police witnessed Swaby and co-defendant Kevin Colquhoon, age 40, with a last known address of 361 Fountain St., Pawtucket, break apart the pallet and carry four cardboard boxes to Colquhoon’s residence.

Later that day, law enforcement observed Swaby exit 361 Fountain St. with a gray satchel. Police followed Swaby in his car to the vicinity of 72 East St. where they witnessed an individual enter and exit Swaby’s vehicle, satchel in hand. DEA officers stopped the individual a short distance later and seized the gray satchel, which was found to contain approximately three pounds of marijuana.

Police continued to follow Swaby, who returned to 361 Fountain St. only to exit again, this time carrying a large black trash bag. Swaby got into his vehicle and again drove to the same location on East Street, where police observed an individual exit a jeep, walk over to Swaby’s vehicle and remove the trash bag. When police approached, the individual attempted to throw the trash bag into the jeep, but it fell to the ground revealing a large quantity of marijuana, later determined to weigh approximately 22 pounds. Both Swaby and the other individual were arrested by police. At that time, police seized keys from Swaby.

Police return to 361 Fountain St. where, upon smelling an "overpowering smell of marijuana," conducted a protective search of the apartment. During the search, police located co-defendant Colquhoon in the back bedroom with a bale of marijuana in plain sight. Police later executed a search warrant and seized approximately 231 pounds of marijuana and paraphernalia.

“These defendants were not operating a legal dispensary, nor were they medical marijuana caregivers. They were drug dealers, plain and simple,” said Kilmartin in a statement. “I commend the cooperation between DEA, ICE and the Pawtucket Police Department to bring down and disrupt a major illegal drug operation in our community.”

Pawtucket Police Detectives Dennis Smith and Scott Sullivan led the investigation, with assistance from the DEA and ICE, and Special Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Morin, who prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.