Pawtucket man sentenced for illegal firearms charge

Pawtucket man sentenced for illegal firearms charge

Justin Pine, 27, of 702 Main St. in Pawtucket, pleaded no contest before Superior Court Magistrate John McBurney to possession of a firearm after being convicted of a crime of violence and possession of a firearm without a license. Under terms of the plea agreement, Pine was sentenced to 20 years with 10 years to serve and the remainder suspended with probation.

Had the case proceeded to trial, prosecutors say they were prepared to prove that Pine, having been previously convicted of felony assault on two occasions, was in possession of a .25 caliber firearm back in March.

Just after midnight on March 13, Pawtucket Police Patrol Officer Zachary Day saw a car turn onto Main Street without stopping or signaling at the stop sign. He said the car then sped up to 60 to 70 miles per hour in a 25-mile zone. Following the motor vehicle, Day saw the driver make several turns at a high rate of speed without stopping or signaling, until finally turning in to an apartment complex and stopping.

During the traffic stop, Day saw the driver, later identified as Eric Ralph, in possession of a small bag of white substance. The officer took Ralph into custody and ordered the passenger, later identified as Pine, to exit the motor vehicle.

While conducting a search of the car, Day found a small silver handgun with one live round in the chamber and a spent shell casing on the floor under the passenger seat. Pine was taken into custody.

“It was good police work that led to taking an illegal firearm off the streets, and I commend the officers for ensuring that a violent criminal was stopped before he had the opportunity to cause a tragedy,” said Kilmartin in a statement. “Possessing illegal firearms cannot and will not be tolerated by police and by my office. We will continue to seek significant sentences for individuals who choose to possess and use illegal firearms.”

Ralph was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, driving while in possession of a controlled substance, and reckless driving. The case is pending.

Pawtucket Police Department Det. David Silva led the investigation and Special Assistant Attorney Gen. Peter Roklan prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.