PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Juan G. Catala, 41, of Johnston, made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence today on charges he allegedly trafficked oxycodone and marijuana, and that he allegedly laundered the proceeds of his drug trafficking activities, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA OCI).
Catala is charged by way of a federal criminal complaint with one count each of distribution of oxycodone, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana and money laundering.
According to information presented to the court, between January 2016 and March 2016, an individual assisting law enforcement in the investigation of Catala’s alleged drug trafficking activities allegedly made at least four purchases of oxycodone tablets from Catala. Each of the purchases, ranging between 39 and 87 oxycodone tablets, were electronically monitored by law enforcement. It is alleged that, at Catala’s direction, most of the cash payment for each alleged transaction was made directly into a bank account established by Catala.
On July 6, FDA OCI agents executed a court authorized search of Catala’s residence where they discovered and seized 70 pounds of marijuana, in excess of $10,000 in cash and several empty prescription bottles which previously contained oxycodone tablets. Agents seized an additional $1,500 in cash from Catala’s vehicle.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Catala, who has been detained since his arrest, was ordered released on $10,000 unsecured bond with electronic monitoring following his initial appearance in U.S. District Court.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald R. Gendron.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha acknowledges and thanks the Rhode Island State Police, DEA, and the Johnston and Middletown Police Departments for their assistance in this matter.
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357