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Woman arrested with 200 grams of fentanyl in Providence home

A Providence woman is under arrest after federal investigators allegedly found 200 grams of life-threatening fentanyl and 2 kilos of suspected heroin in her Providence home when they executed a search warrant last week.

In a statement, Rhode Island US Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch said prosecutors had requested the detention order from US District Court Judge Lincoln D. Almond following the discovery of the suspected drugs along with digital scales, masks, gloves and cutting agents.

Marleni Difo, 26, is currently charged with possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, according to prosecutors.

She did not enter a plea during her initial appearance Monday in US District Court in Providence and was ordered held pending a hearing on Nov. 19 at 2 p.m., records show.


The investigation that led to her arrest was conducted by the Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force and special agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, prosecutors said.

Testing to confirm that the substances are fentanyl and heroin will be conducted by a DEA lab.

An affidavit filed in the case by Joseph M. Iannelli, a task force officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said the gloves and face masks, some usually worn by painters and others normally worn by medical professionals, found on Difo’s kitchen counter were suggestive of criminal conduct.

“I know from my training and experience that it is not uncommon for fentanyl distributors to utilize these types of gloves and masks in handling fentanyl,” Iannelli wrote. “I know based on my training and experience, that fentanyl can easily become airborne and, if inhaled can be lethal.”

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.