Articles Posted in Crimes and Immigration

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On Thursday as a result of an ongoing investigation two men from California were arrested after police discovered 66 pounds of cocaine in their tractor-trailer unit in Chelsea.

The two men arrested in Chelsea were from California and were brought to the Chelsea District Court on Friday. They are each charged with trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to violate the state’s drug laws. Trafficking in this amount of cocaine carries a 15 year mandatory minimum sentence if convicted.

Large amounts of drugs such as in this case are usually considered for federal prosecution rather than being handled at the state level. Whether they will be charged federally is yet to be determined.

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Eduardo Torres, 48, of Marlboro, was pulled over Saturday morning, September 24, for an expired inspection sticker. The officer noticed to open beer bottles and the smell of alcohol on his breath. After failing field sobriety tests Torres was arrested for being under the influence of alcohol. He has three prior alcohol-related offenses from California and to prior operating under the influence charges in Massachusetts, he was charged with a sixth offense OUI.

Torres was previously ordered deported by immigration and will be handed over to federal authorities after his criminal case is completed. The incident along with others involving illegal immigrants have drawn a lot of publicity to those immigrants who are here illegally and drive without a license or commit criminal offenses. Sheriff’s from local communities are using these latest incidents to draw attention to the secure communities program. The secure communities program requires that police run a suspects fingerprints through a database and alert federal officials if it is determined that the suspect is not the US with proper authorization.

Torres was held without bail and faces a mandatory minimum sentence if convicted. It appears he did not take the breathalyzer. OUI charges have an increasing scale when it comes to penalties based on the amount of prior offenses. A first offense OUI usually requires an alcohol program, a short loss of license as well as fines and fees; a second offense usually requires a two-week inpatient alcohol program; a third offense will require mandatory minimum sentence in jail with a long loss of license. Any subsequent offense after a third offense carries an even longer mandatory minimum sentence and eventually a permanent loss of license.

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This took place after a national effort to find and remove illegal immigrants with prior criminal convictions some with multiple criminal convictions. US immigration and customs enforcement better known as ICE conducted a nationwide sweep that lasted seven days which detained immigrants with felony convictions such as: manslaughter attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, drug trafficking, child abuse, sexual crimes and aggravated assault. ICE named this operation crosscheck and said it was the largest of its kind involved over 1900 officers and agents from the 24 field offices with police organizations offering assistance.

19 arrests occurred in Boston, many of those arrested were already considered immigration fugitives in that they had been previously ordered removed from the country but failed to leave, some had been previously deported and had reentered illegally.

Some of those arrested were presented to both local and federal authorities for criminal prosecution at least 146 of those arrested were being considered for prosecution on a variety of charges including illegal reentry after deportation a federal charge which can carry up to 20 years in prison.

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Karen Morla Ramos, 22, flew into Boston from the Dominican Republic on a JetBlue flight early Sunday morning. U.S. Customs service and border protection grew suspicious after questioning her and performed a patdown search of her clothing. Over 1 kilogram of cocaine was discovered in what appeared to be a diaper concealed in her outer clothing.

She was arrested by customs service officers and charged with trafficking in cocaine. It is not unusual for drug traffickers to use children and young adults as mules to conceal drugs and sneak them into the country. The majority of these mules are given little information about the source of the drugs and are usually told that they will be given further instructions upon their arrival.

It is these mules that suffer in that they charged with trafficking in cocaine which carries long mandatory minimum sentences all for what amounts to very small pay for transporting drugs. Most mules are very poor and taken advantage of by the lure of a small payment.

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Massachusetts State police have agreed to participate in the Secure Communities program which calls for the police to share information on the identity of arrested suspects with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If ICE then discovers the newly arrested person is unlawfully present in the U.S. they can choose to issue a detainer, or hold, causing the person to be held for ICE to take custody of him for deportation. The program claims it is being implemented to target illegal aliens who are found to have serious criminal records and not meant as a tool to deport all immigrants without proper status.

What is taking place on the streets though is not only are illegal aliens with serious criminal histories been deported but the majority being held and put in deportation proceedings are immigrants who are stopped for offenses as minor as driving without a license. The fear by those opposed to the program is that the immigrant community will stop reporting crimes to the police out of fear they will be reported to ICE, creating a chilling effect between local authorities and the community they are to protect.

This Secure Communities program is a national program and is basically a sharing of information between local state authorities, and the FBI through the Division of Homeland Securities (DHS) which runs Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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State and Federal agents tracked the delivery of 89 kilos of cocaine from Texas to Revere, MA where they then busted Gilberto Padilla and Rafael Montero as they removed the drugs from a hidden compartment under the trailer. Both defendants were charged with Trafficking in over 200grams of Cocaine and were held on 5 million dollars bail.

Trafficking in Cocaine has different levels associated with it. Trafficking in over 200 grams carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, trafficking in cocaine over 100 grams is a 10 year minimum sentence, Trafficking in over 28 grams is a 7 year sentence and Trafficking in over 28 grams is a 5 year mandatory sentence. Trafficking means that you are in possession of such a large quantity that it is presumed that your intent is to distribute the drug. Trafficking in heroin is similar in that the amount of grams drives the mandatory minimum sentence. Trafficking is basically a possession with intent to distribute charge based on the amount of drugs. Possession with intent to distribute cocaine or heroin is a separate charge which can be proven by how smaller amounts of drugs might be packaged, individual small baggies, or whether evidence of distribution exists such as scales or large amounts of money.

If charged with Trafficking in cocaine or heroin it is important to have an experienced Boston criminal lawyer get involved in the case as soon as possible. Challenges need to be made of the police investigation and any search warrants or wiretaps that were involved in the case. If police did not follow the proper procedures in obtaining a search warrant or a warrant to easedrop on phonelines then motions can be made to throw that evidence out and not allow it in trial. An experienced boston attorney needs to look at the way the investigation took place and determine how and what can be challenged in the case.