Providence pair charged with straw purchasing multiple firearms

An indictment, information, or complaint is merely an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha today announced that two Providence individuals have been charged in Kent County Superior Court with straw purchasing multiple firearms following an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) into firearms trafficking in the greater Providence area.


On April 17, 2024, the Office of the Attorney General charged Devin Barbosa (age 29) and Shardaisa Joi Reid (29), by way of criminal information, each with three counts of straw purchasing a firearm and one count of conspiracy to straw purchase firearms. Straw purchasing of a firearm is when an individual buys a firearm on behalf of someone who is legally prohibited from purchasing firearms.


“Enforcing straw purchasing laws is a crucial component of keeping Rhode Islanders safe from gun violence,” said Attorney General Neronha. “It goes without saying that individuals convicted of violent crimes have a propensity for violence, and because they can no longer legally purchase firearms, they will often look to others to obtain them. And that’s why we must hold accountable those willing to break the law to supply firearms to those willing to use them for violence. I want to thank my Office’s investigators and ATF for their commitment to keeping guns away from violent offenders.”


As alleged in the criminal information, in March 2023, investigators began investigating Barbosa for firearms trafficking. During the investigation, they learned that the Providence Police Department arrested Barbosa on September 19, 2021, for firing a rifle off of the back deck of his residence. Following his arrest, police seized a Glock 19 Gen 5 pistol and a Century Arms Micro Draco AK-47 pistol. Additionally, police recovered an empty FN Model 509 pistol box from Barbosa’s bedroom closet.


Barbosa is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm because he was previously convicted of several crimes of violence including domestic simple assault in 2020, carrying a pistol without a permit in 2018, and larceny less than $1,500 in 2018.


As further alleged, investigators conducted a trace of the seized handguns through ATF and determined that Reid purchased the guns from D&L Shooting Supplies in Warwick in August and September 2021, just prior to Barbosa’s arrest by Providence Police. Further, when investigators ran the serial number located on the empty box in Barbosa’s closet, they determined that she had purchased that gun as well.


As alleged, Barbosa made numerous phone calls to Reid and others while he was incarcerated following his September 2021 arrest, during which he spoke about possession of the firearms seized from his residence and his involvement in purchasing the firearms.


As further alleged, investigators reviewed video surveillance footage from the firearms dealer, which depicted Barbosa handling the seized firearms and providing Reid with money to purchase them. Further, investigators reviewed the State of Rhode Island and Federal Applications filled out by Reid, on which she asserted that the guns were for her.


“Working with our valued partners to address the straw purchasing of firearms is a top priority for ATF,” said James M. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division. “Straw purchasers enable unlawful possession of guns, and subsequently, the violence that often follows. That’s why law enforcement partnerships provide our best opportunity to address illegal activity and disrupt cycles of violence, as demonstrated in this case.”


The defendants are scheduled for arraignment on May 10, 2024, in Kent County Superior Court.