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RI Crime

R.I. inmate caught selling firearms and meth from behind bars

Tyler Bagley, 29, has now been sentenced to 48 months federal prison

PROVIDENCE — Tyler Bagley, 29, was still behind bars in Rhode Island when he was selling firearms and several grams of methamphetamine.

This week, he was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison on firearm and drug trafficking charges by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith, according to Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus. Bagley’s prison time will be followed by three years of federal, supervised release.

Bagley has a lengthy criminal record. In 2013, he was convicted of breaking and entering, which he received 10 years of incarceration. In 2007, he was convicted of forgery in New Hampshire and was sentenced to one year.

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According to court documents, in October 2020, he had called his then girlfriend, Bernice Chase, 39, of Providence, and used “coded language” to instruct her to call a number he was given by a fellow inmate to sell a firearm that he had previously obtained.

Chase called the number and arranged to meet the next day with a buyer, providing him with a Glock 9mm pistol in exchange for $450. Approximately an hour later, Bagley told Chase over the phone to deposit $200 into his prison account and for her to keep the remainder of the proceeds. But unbeknownst to the couple, the person who purchased the firearm was an uncover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

About a month later, Bagley contacted Chase by phone from inside the prison, and again using “coded language,” told Chase to contact the person that purchased the firearm to sell him 28 grams of methamphetamine.

The uncover ATF agent and Chase met the following day, and she provided the unnamed agent with 14 grams of meth in exchange for $800. She told Bagley that she could not get the full, requested 28 grams, but that she was able to get half and make a $300 profit. He, again, instructed her to keep half and deposit the other half into his prison account, according to court documents.

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An analysis conducted by a US Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory found that the methamphetamine sold to the uncover agent was 97 percent pure.

Chase pleaded guilty at the end of September to a two-count information charging her with felon in possession of a firearm and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 7, 2022.


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.