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Providence men charged in drug, gambling bust

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Providence man who had previously been deported is facing drug and gambling charges after police say he was operating an illegal sports betting operation out of a Dexter Street home and selling cocaine in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Victor Manuel Peguero-Vasquez, 43, was arrested Aug. 8 following a months-long investigation by the Providence Police Intelligence and Organized Crime Bureau, according to an incident report obtained by Target 12.

Another man, 45-year-old Darwin Torres, was also charged in connection with the investigation, according to Providence police.

During the investigation, detectives said they observed Peguero-Vasquez facilitating sports wagers and providing lines or to customers. They said Peguero-Vasquez and Torres worked together and also made “suspected narcotics deals in and around the state and southern Massachusetts,” the incident report states.

A day after obtaining a search warrant for properties on Dexter Street and Adelaide Avenue as well as two vehicles, police detained Peguero-Vasquez on Aug. 8. He told them he kept betting slips at the Dexter Street property. Police eventually seized $1,000 in cash,

Detectives said they discovered three computers, printers, ledger and betting slips at the Dexter Street home. They also secured 7.9 ounces of suspected cocaine, a grinder, digital scale and bagging material, according to the report.

In a recorded audio statement, Peguero-Vasquez told police he had a Rhode Island driver’s license that was “obtained with false documents at the registry,” the report states. He was also charged with presenting false documents to law enforcement and possession of a false driver’s license.

Nearly two weeks after the arrests, on Aug. 21, a deportation officer for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement filed a criminal complaint against Peguero-Vasquez accusing him of illegal re-entry into the country, a crime that carries a potential fine of two years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

According to the federal complaint, Peguero-Vasquez was removed from Alexandria, Louisiana, and returned to his home in the Dominican Republic in 2011. The officer said there is no record that Peguero-Vasquez was approved to return to the United States.

An attorney for Peguero-Vasquez did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

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Dan McGowan (dmcgowan@wpri.com) covers politics and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan

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