SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 18, 2013

Soldier admits role in $1M cocaine deal

(Continued)

During that October trip, Flores had lied to his supervisors in the Arizona National Guard, telling them he needed to travel to Texas to be with his girlfriend’s ailing relative, Friedholm told the judge. Instead, said the prosecutor, he came to Massachusetts.

Friedholm urged the judge to impose a longer prison term of four to five years, comparing it with the sentences of 12 to 14 years that have been offered to the other two men. He also noted that under new state sentencing laws, they will be eligible for parole after eight years. He argued that his recommendation of less time for Flores takes into account the defendant’s lesser role in the conspiracy.

While the judge agreed, he also said he believes that Flores’ military service and the likely loss of his livelihood as a Guardsman and sometime private security officer at federal buildings were factors to consider.

Defense lawyer Michael Hickey argued for the shorter, three-year term, the minimum penalty available, saying his client had no prior record and that his involvement was an “aberration.”

That prompted Friedholm to mention the prior trip and the lies Flores told his supervisors when he asked for leave.

Torres Munoz and Grilli are due back in court next month. It is not known whether they will accept the proposed sentences that were being offered in exchange for guilty pleas or opt to go to trial.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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