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RI mob associate arrested, accused of being ‘silent partner’ in marijuana business

Target 12

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A longtime associate of the New England crime family has been arrested and accused of unlawfully being a “silent partner” in a state-licensed marijuana cultivator operation.

Raymond Jenkins, 56, of Johnston, was arrested on Thursday by the R.I. State Police and charged with a felony count of perjury and two misdemeanor charges of filing a false document and conspiracy. According to a court affidavit, Jenkins is accused of lying about his true role in Organic Bees, a cannabis cultivator on Mineral Spring Ave. in Pawtucket that sells product to marijuana dispensaries.

Jenkins, whom state police say also goes by the nickname “Scarface,” is a “close associate of the Rhode Island faction of the New England La Cosa Nostra.” He was one of nine defendants in a sweeping bust into organized crime in 2011 that took down former boss Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio. He was accused of shaking down a used car salesman in an extortion scheme.

By law, Jenkins’ felony record would prohibit him from obtaining a position of “managerial oversight over a state licensed medical marijuana cultivator,” according to the affidavit.

“Jenkins was in fact a founder of this business, operated much of the day-to-day responsibilities, and was even involved in the hiring, discipline and termination of employees,” wrote Detective Matthew Lynch, a member of the State Police Intelligence Unit.

Investigators allege Jenkins was sometimes compensated in cryptocurrency.

Court documents reveal detectives have conducted several raids on the Pawtucket facility and seized $50,000 worth of illegal untagged marijuana plants, “in an office are where Jenkins has been reported to frequent while at Organic Bees.”

Jenkins was arraigned on Thursday and released on personal recognizance, according to his attorney William Dimitri.

“My understanding is there were grand jury investigations into these guys a few months back,” Dimitri told Target 12. “I suspect, but don’t know yet, maybe the grand jury didn’t return a true bill. That’s reprehensible if that’s the case.” (A return of a no true bill means a grand jury declined to file charges).

Kristy dosReis, a spokesperson for Attorney General Peter Neronha said, “absent exceptional circumstances, we don’t comment on the existence or nonexistence of grand jury investigations.”

The R.I. Department of Business Regulation – which oversees the cannabis industry in Rhode Island – is also involved in the state police probe, according to court records, and has taken action against Organic Bees’ license to grow cannabis.

“The Department is aware of the ongoing criminal matter and has moved to revoke Organic Bees’ cultivator license by way of an order to show cause issued this afternoon,” spokesperson Brian Hodge said in an email.

A hearing is scheduled for May 5.

Dimitri said he plans on gathering documents from the DBR to see “what was filed and what they say he lied about.”

“I don’t know what they are basing this arrest on,” he said.

The state police affidavit says an employee at Organic Bees referred to Jenkins as a “silent partner.” Paperwork filed with DBR shows the businesses owners are based in Chicago and Florida, and Jenkins is not listed among them. The state requires all people with interest in a marijuana business to be disclosed on the form.

Police allege Jenkins claimed in a 2020 filing with DBR to be an employee at the facility with the title of “trimmer,” though investigators say “Jenkins had never participated in the marijuana trimming process.” Employees are not subject to the same criminal background requirements as managers and owners.

“Majority owners have expressed the desire to sell Organic Bees for approximately [$1.5 million,” Lynch wrote. “Jenkins has made repeated statements referencing an original operating agreement from the year 2017 that he should be entitled to approximately [$750,000] upon sale of this business.”

Lisa Holley, the attorney for Organic Bees, declined to comment.

Also arrested on Thursday was Dorian Ferreira, 35, of Providence, charged with misdemeanor conspiracy. Ferreira is described as the director of operations of Organic Bees, according to the required disclosure document filed with DBR. His attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 managing editor and chief investigative reporter at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook

Steph Machado and Sarah Guernelli contributed to this report

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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