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Officer Pleads No Contest to Drug Charges

Boston Globe via YellowBrix

December 30, 2010

PROVIDENCE — One of four Providence police officers caught up in a State Police drug investigation pleaded no contest yesterday to two misdemeanor charges, and charges against another officer were dropped.

Sergeant Stephen Gonsalves, 47, was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading no contest in Providence Superior Court to two counts of frequenting a narcotics nuisance.

A no-contest plea is legally equivalent to a guilty plea. Prosecutors dropped charges that he solicited another to commit a crime.

As part of the agreement, Gonsalves was sentenced to back-to-back one-year suspended prison terms with probation. He also agreed to retire from the Police Department and receive substance abuse counseling.

The 22-year veteran officer apologized to State Police and the attorney general’s office “for putting them in this difficult situation.’’

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Dawson said the attorney general’s office recently obtained new evidence that gave prosecutors pause about pursuing a conviction against Detective Robert Enright, who was accused of helping to protect the leader of a drug ring. Charges against Enright were dismissed yesterday.

Another officer, Joseph Colanduono, pleaded guilty this month to two counts of conspiracy to deliver drugs, larceny over $500, and harboring an alleged drug dealer.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss several other counts against Colanduono, 45, who is due to be sentenced next month.

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