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RI House staffer charged after bust in undercover drug sting

Target 12

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An employee in the R.I. House of Representatives has been fired after he was arrested and charged with four drug offenses involving allegations of dealing heroin and cocaine, Target 12 has learned.

Frank Franco, 49, of Providence, was arraigned in Providence District Court on Tuesday after Providence police arrested and charged him with four felony drug charges, including possession with intent to deliver heroin and possession with intent to deliver cocaine.

He was held without bail, according to court documents.

Law enforcement sources told Target 12 Franco was the subject of a months-long undercover narcotics investigation.

Providence detectives on Monday watched a man get into Franco’s black Range Rover and exchange items. Police later arrested the man and found a bag containing a white powdery substance on him, which tested positive for heroine.

Police then pulled over Franco. As they approached his car, police witnessed Franco break his flip phone, according to sources.

Detectives then conducted a search warrant on Franco’s apartment in the Providence G on Dorrance Street, and seized cash, bags containing suspected heroin and cocaine and other items believed to be used for sorting and containing drugs.

An attorney listed as representing Franco did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

House spokesperson Larry Berman said Franco worked for House operations in general maintenance before he was fired on the day of his arraignment.

Franco was hired by the Joint Committee on Legislative Services in 2005, when then-Speaker Bill Murphy led the House. Franco’s annual salary this year totaled $49,270.

Berman declined to comment further.

Franco has a history of legal trouble dating back to 1990, including multiple offenses of domestic violence and one charge of felony assault with a dangerous weapon, according to court records.

He also faced charges on two separate occasions for driving with a suspended license and driving without insurance in 1998 and 1999, respectively, according to court records.

Franco’s next court date for the drug offenses is scheduled for May 5, according to court records.

Eli Sherman (esherman@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Providence

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