Police find drugs, cash in hollowed-out ceiling rafters


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A search of a suspected drug dealer’s apartment yielded $17,000 in cash and 42 grams of heroin mostly hidden inside wooden beams, according to Providence Police.

Captain Kevin Lanni said police had been to Pedro Ruiz’s Audrey Street apartment in Olneyville multiple times trying to find the suspected drug dealer’s stash.

Last week, detectives conducting a search warrant finally found it: wads of cash inside a ceiling rafter beam, which Ruiz allegedly hollowed out to hide the money.

According to a police report, detectives then found several other wooden beams hollowed out, which were hiding suboxone strips. Officers also found a hidden compartment in the bathroom containing 92 bags of heroin, according to the report.

Courtesy: Providence Police

In all, police seized $17,473 in cash and 42 grams of heroin, according to the report. Captain Kevin Lanni says the heroin has a street value of about $8,000.

He described Ruiz, who was arrested, as a “lower-level” dealer, but said those types of dealers can “plague a whole neighborhood” and garner the most amount of complaints to police, because of the heavy traffic of drug customers in the neighborhood.

Lanni said while police often find drugs in hidden compartments in furniture or behind floor and ceiling tiles, the hollowed-out beams were pretty unique.

Pedro Ruiz, 61, is charged with multiple drug counts. (Photo courtesy of Providence Police)

“Just the fact that he took the time to carve out those beams,” Lanni remarked. “That was a lot of work to whittle out the wood.”

Ruiz, who has multiple previous drug cases on his record, was charged with possession of heroin, possession with intent to deliver and possession with intent to deliver a schedule III controlled substance.

He was held without bail at his arraignment, according to court records.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

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