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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys are working on a plea deal in the case against Jasdrual “Josh” Perez, who’s accused of running a massive fentanyl drug ring across multiple states and is the nephew of two high-ranking Providence police officers.
Massachusetts U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin ordered last week to push a pretrial hearing until July 26 so that the parties could negotiate a plea deal, which had been requested by both sides, according to court documents.
The order represents the latest development in the ongoing case against Perez, who was arrested in February 2022 and accused of running a “robust long-running drug operation” that pumped the deadly narcotic onto the streets in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee.
Perez pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy with intent to deliver fentanyl and faces up to 30 years in prison if he’s convicted. He has been held in jail pending trial.
The federal investigation into Perez also revealed the FBI launched a probe into whether Perez benefited in any way from his family ties at the Providence Police Department. His uncles are Sgt. Andres Perez and Police Chief Col. Oscar Perez. The two officers are brothers.
Both men were interviewed by federal agents and a Target 12 investigation last month revealed the probe focused primarily on Andres Perez, who said through an attorney he’s done nothing wrong. Oscar Perez defended his brother’s reputation in an interview, telling Target 12 his department has no problem arresting offenders in Providence, even if they’re relatives.
Providence Mayor Brett Smiley, who also serves as public safety commission, also stood by his officers, saying Oscar Perez told him about the case against his nephew prior to being nominated.
“It was the first thing that helped build trust between us,” Smiley said last month.
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