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PAWTUCKET â€“ A U.S. District Court jury Wednesday convicted a local man on charges of peddling pharmaceutical painkillers similar to heroin.
Audi Pineda, 38, of Pawtucket, was convicted of possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone and conspiracy, federal prosecutors said.
A barber, Pineda was arrested in August 2011 following an undercover investigation by Pawtucket Police and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force. Court-authorized searches of Pinedaâ€™s place of employment and his residence resulted in the seizure of cash, oxycodone pills and other narcotics.
During the two-day trial, prosecutors argued that the searches by Pawtucket police detectives and agents federal agents resulted in the seizure of 33 oxycodone pills and cell phones used for making drug transactions. Pineda was seated in the barber chair at his work station when officers and agents entered the business.
Investigators later searched Pinedaâ€™s residence and found a hidden compartment built into a basement wall which contained more than 12 grams of cocaine. In addition, in a void space in a wall near a ground floor bathroom, agents found a plastic bag containing $36,000 in U.S. currency.
Pineda had been charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver, but the jury acquitted him of that count.
Pineda faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell on January 16, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Pawtucket Police Chief Paul King and Kevin L. Lane, special agent in charge of the New England Field Division of the DEA, announced Pinedaâ€™s conviction in a joint statement.