Providence man sentenced to serve 4 years in state prison for possessing illegal guns

Published on Monday, December 13, 2021

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve four years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) stemming from his arrests in 2019 and 2021 for possessing illegal guns in Providence and Pawtucket.

Michael Ortiz (age 24) entered a plea of nolo contendere to two counts of carrying a pistol without a license.

At a hearing on December 3, 2021, before Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers, the Court sentenced the defendant to eight years at the ACI with four years to serve and four years suspended with eight years of probation.

“There’s no mystery concerning what is driving urban gun violence. There are simply too many illegal guns in the hands of those who carry and use them with impunity, to settle petty disputes and protect drug trafficking activity. They are found on criminals walking our streets, in cars driven by criminals in our neighborhoods, and in the homes of criminals when court-authorized search warrants are executed,” said Attorney General Neronha. “This toxic stew endangers lives, and it is why law enforcement efforts must continue to identify these individuals and get them off the street before the worst can happen. I am grateful to the Providence and Pawtucket Police Departments for their partnership in these ongoing efforts, and their outstanding work during the investigation of these two cases.”

Had the cases proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was arrested on two separate occasions while in possession of an illegal pistol.

On October 19, 2019, members of the Providence Police Department arrested the defendant on Hartford Avenue after witnessing him discard a Glock 43 9mm semi-automatic pistol loaded with six bullets.

On March 13, 2021, a member of the Pawtucket Police Department arrested the defendant, while he was released on bail, following a vehicle stop on Main Street while he was in possession of a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic pistol accompanied by a 15-round magazine.

“Once again, I commend the members of the Providence Police Department and our law enforcement partners at the RI Attorney General’s Office and Pawtucket Police Department for their proven commitment to ridding illegal firearms from the streets of our neighborhoods,” said Steven M. Paré, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety. “As a result of their tireless efforts throughout the investigation and prosecution of this case, a career criminal offender will serve a lengthy sentence and will no longer act as a violent threat to innocent victims within our communities.”

"The Pawtucket Police Department is glad to work with our partners to reduce the crime in our communities," said Pawtucket Acting Public Safety Director, Chief Tina Goncalves. "Driving down gun violence and removing illegal guns and violent individuals from our streets is an important goal we are all working to achieve."

Detective Ricardo Silva and Officer Erick Ramos of the Providence Police Department; Sergeant David Medeiros of the Pawtucket Police Department; and Special Assistant Attorney General Edward G. Mullaney of the Office of the Attorney General led the investigation and prosecution of the case.