By Chris O’Brien
BU News Service
A Brockton man arrested as part of a “violent crime sweep” was sentenced Monday to 48 months in prison and a six-year supervised release for felony counts of possession and intent to distribute crack cocaine and possession of a firearm as a felon.
Raul Robles, 30, was one of 20 Brockton residents arrested in June 2018 in what Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter stated was a response to resident’s concern about “crime and loitering” in the downtown area.
According to Robles’ arrest warrant, in May 2018 undercover police officers contacted Robles and coordinated a purchase of $80 of crack cocaine. After buying the drugs, police requested a search warrant on the address registered to the car driven by Robles.
Robles’ residence, like the others involved in the sweep, was searched by officers one early morning, according to court records. Officers discovered a “substantial” amount of cocaine, distribution paraphernalia, and a .40 caliber Model 23 Glock handgun during their search.
During the sentencing hearing, Judge Douglas P. Woodcock expressed concern over the “two characters” he saw before him, referring to Robles.
The government prosecutors requested a harsh sentence, claiming that Robles’ extensive history of violent crime paired with relatively short sentences provided him with plenty of opportunities to change his behavior.
In 2012, Robles was charged with possession of heroin and cocaine.
“That was [Robles’] second opportunity to turn his life around,” said U.S. prosecutor Nicolas Soivillien. “He did not. Instead, he was involved in a high-speed chase resulting in multiple car crashes.”
Additionally, the prosecution clashed with Robles’ defense on whether or not the proximity of the firearm to the narcotics, a distance of five feet according to Soivillien, should have an effect on Robles’ sentencing, per federal guidelines.
“It’s one thing just to sell poison to your own community,” Soivillien said. “But there’s only one reason for a drug dealer to own a loaded firearm.”
Robles’ defence argued that the current charges are indeed a wakeup call for Robles, who has started a family and has been involved in his community since his last charge.
“Being away from my family and kids has given me the biggest wake-up call there is,” Robles said as he read from a letter he had prepared for his sentencing Monday. “I apologize to the court and to my family.”
As part of his sentence, Robles must attend drug treatment programs during his supervised release.
“You might say, I haven’t had that problem,” Woodcock said. “But other people have, and you are part of that problem.”