SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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October 18, 2013

Paperwork lag means Salem man avoids drug charges, deportation

(Continued)

Collins, the prosecutor, urged Judge Robert Brennan to impose a guilty finding and a sentence of 10 months in jail, time already served by Soto-Tejada while awaiting trial.

Erkan, meanwhile, urged leniency, saying his client has no prior record and that a conviction and jail sentence would trigger deportation proceedings.

Soto-Tejada is “an undocumented alien” who “made some bad choices,” said Erkan.

“He wants to fight for his ability to be a dad for his kids,” said the lawyer, pointing to two young daughters in the courtroom sitting with their mother, Soto-Tejada’s girlfriend of 10 years.

Brennan suggested that it was reasonable based on the evidence to conclude that Soto-Tejada was dealing heroin. “You have bags with a brown substance on them, a person flushing the toilet and people calling up looking for heroin,” said the judge.

And he suggested that since the crimes were motivated by a desire for money, the punishment ought to be in line with that motive. That’s when he proposed the $1,000 fine.

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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