WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A Woonsocket man was sentenced to prison Friday for his role in an illegal gun-trafficking scheme.
Willie Love, 33, pleaded no contest to conspiracy to sell a concealable weapon without proper paperwork and carrying a pistol without a license, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday.
Love was sentenced to eight years with two to serve behind bars and a six-year suspended sentence with eight years of probation, the AG’s office said.
Love, according to prosecutors, was seen in social media posts with a semiautomatic pistol. As a convicted felon, he was barred from purchasing that firearm under federal law.
Investigators from the Urban Violent Crime Task Force determined Love had purchased the gun from Amerlia Holmes, who was later convicted of taking part in a straw-purchasing scheme.
Last November, police searched Love’s Park Avenue home and seized the weapon, along with a loaded 15-round magazine.
Co-defendants Theodore Braxton, Ralph Gbaie and Russell Dacruz were also previously convicted for their roles in the scheme, prosecutors said.
“Illegal firearm distribution schemes continue to threaten our community, putting the lives of innocent victims at risk,” Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré said in a news release. “Targeting illegal firearms is a priority of law enforcement and this initiative will enhance our agencies’ ability to utilize data, technology, and intelligence to analyze, investigate and connect the players involved more efficiently.”