PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two Providence police officers accused in a cocaine distribution ring that authorities say also involved a former driver for Mayor David Cicilline were ordered held without bail Friday.

Joseph Colanduono, a narcotics detective, and Patrolman Robert Hamlin, a school resource officer, did not enter any pleas during a brief court appearance Friday.

District Court Judge Michael Higgins set a bail hearing for March 18.

Colanduono’s wife, Tracey, said after court that she believed her husband was innocent but declined to comment further.

Hamlin and Colanduono were arrested Thursday along with a third officer, Sgt. Stephen Gonsalves, a former driver for Cicilline and the husband of the mayor’s executive assistant.

Hamlin faces charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine, and Colanduono faces charges of conspiracy to deal cocaine and concealing and compounding a felony.

Gonsalves, who faces a lesser charge of soliciting another to commit a crime, was released Thursday on personal recognizance.

The officers have been suspended from the police department without pay.

A lawyer for Colanduono did not immediately return a call seeking comment, and a man who answered the phone at a number listed for Gonsalves said “No comment” and hung up.

Hamlin did not have a lawyer during his arraignment.

Cicilline on Friday called the officers “rogue.”

“The behavior that is at the root of this is disgraceful and appalling,” Cicilline, who is running for the congressional seat vacated by the outgoing Rep. Patrick Kennedy, told The Associated Press.

State Police say Hamlin helped his brother, Albert — the main target in the probe who was also arrested on cocaine dealing charges — avoid detection by tipping him to names of narcotic detectives and providing information on their vehicles.

Albert Hamlin would allegedly purchase one kilogram of cocaine at a time and divide it into smaller amounts, which he would then sell, state police said.

Colanduono is accused of helping facilitate the drug deals, and Gonsalves bought cocaine for his own use, police said.

The arrests follow a four-month investigation in which police say they intercepted multiple phone calls between the officers and recorded surveillance video of them.

State Police seized several hundred grams of cocaine and firearms as part of the probe.

According to a state police affidavit obtained by the AP, Gonsalves can be heard asking Colanduono in a March 1 phone call, “Are you going to grab some bumps from Bigs or what?”

Police say “Bigs” is an alias for Albert Hamlin and “bumps” is slang for cocaine.

Cicilline said he was unaware of Stephen Gonsalves’ alleged drug use.


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