EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The California man who jumped off of the Washington Bridge during a traffic stop last year pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday, according to United States Attorney Zachary Cunha.
Joseph Darosa, 29, was convicted of being a felon in possession of firearms.
Detectives were surveilling Darosa as part of an ongoing gun trafficking investigation back in February 2022. Police said the detectives watched as Darosa left an East Providence home with a large suitcase and got into a Lyft.
The detectives pulled the car over on I-195 West along the Washington Bridge. That’s when police said Darosa hopped out of the car, jumped over the railing and into the Providence River.
The daring escape prompted a multi-agency manhunt for Darosa, which ended nearly an hour later when he was found along the East Providence shoreline.
Back on the bridge, detectives discovered 13 handguns and a rifle inside the suitcase Darosa left behind. Police said four of the guns were reported stolen out of Texas and one had an obliterated serial number.
Darosa is scheduled to be sentenced on April 5. Cunha said all 14 guns will eventually be destroyed.
Court records indicate that Darosa was on federal supervised release at the time of his arrest after serving five years in prison for distributing methamphetamine.