RI Laborers Offices Searched as part of Drug Smuggling Investigation

R.I. state and federal agents arrested a capo in the Patriarca crime family on Jan. 20 and also searched offices of the Laborers’ International Union in Providence, along with a Cranston concrete company that has employed the mobster as well as the son of a top state judge.  Matthew Guglielmetti Jr. is accused of agreeing to protect a major shipment of cocaine passing through RI en route to Canada.


Hours after the arrest of Matthew L. Guglielmetti Jr., the FBI and state police descended upon the offices of the New England Laborers in Providence and Capital City Concrete in Cranston.  The agents arrived shortly before noon at the Arthur E. Coia Building in Providence, a red-brick building that holds office space for various operations of the New England regional operations of the Laborers.  Inside, agents could be seen on the first floor, which includes the union’s organizing department, and also going upstairs, which includes offices of the New England Laborers’ Labor-Management Cooperation Trust.


Guglielmetti worked for Capital City Concrete, which employs union construction workers, when the company helped build the parking garage for the planned new Kent County Courthouse over the past few years.  One of Guglielmetti’s coworkers at Capital City Concrete was Albert E. DeRobbio II, the son of Chief District Court Judge Albert E. DeRobbio.


Gugliemetti’s arrest follows a scheme that the FBI says was hatched because the mobster needed some cash for Christmas.  According to an affidavit filed in federal court yesterday by FBI Special Agent Joseph Degnan, several FBI agents had been working undercover in Rhode Island and elsewhere, for an undisclosed period of time.


“During this undercover activity, an FBI undercover agent . . . was introduced to Guglielmetti,” the affidavit said. “In his undercover role, [the agent] and Guglielmetti operated a business, with Guglielmetti as a silent partner. During the operation of this business, Guglielmetti received money from the business, including a share of the profits from laundering what Guglielmetti believed were drug proceeds through the undercover business.”


On Dec. 6, according to the affidavit, Guglielmetti met with the agent again and agreed to a payment of $1,000 per kilo for “babysitting” 67 kilos of cocaine; they also discussed laundering at least half the proceeds once the cocaine was sold in Canada.


During Gugliemetti’s brief court appearance yesterday afternoon, FBI agents and state police detectives continued their searches of the Laborers and Capital Concrete offices for records pertaining to the larger investigation.  A secretary for Armand E. Sabitoni, the Laborers’ general secretary-treasurer and the Laborers’ New England regional manager, said that Sabitoni was traveling and not available.  Dominick Ruggerio, administrator of the New England Laborers’ Labor-Management Cooperation Trust and a state senator from Providence, could not be reached for comment. According to a union Web site, the trust’s mission includes “creating long-term working relationships between contractors and the New England Laborers.”


The law firm of Coia & Lepore, which is also in the Arthur E. Coia Building and has close ties to the Laborers, issued a statement saying that its offices had not been searched. [Providence Journal, 1/21/05]