Police allege that Samuel Gambaro of Providence, Rhode Island was involved in a drug operation spanning at least three states, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. An investigation into Gambaro’s activities started in October of this year. Authorities claim that seven hand-to-hand sales to an undercover Massachusetts State Police Officer and a search warrant executed at a Lawrence, Massachusetts residence led to the criminal drug charges. The Search Warrant was executed at Bunkerhill Street. There, officers located over one hundred grams of heroin and sixty five grams of cocaine all said to have a street value in the vicinity of ten thousand dollars. Apparently the substances were located on a coffee table. Two other individuals were also charged with Massachusetts Drug Crimes as a result of this investigation. Santo Mota-Vizaino of Lawrence, Massachusetts and Francisco Carmona-Sanchez of Dorchester were charged with Trafficking Cocaine and Trafficking Heroin. Both have also been charged with Conspiracy to Violation the Massachusetts Controlled Substances Laws. Gambaro has been charged with Distribution of Class B and Distribution of Class A according to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune article. Gambaro is being held on one million dollars cash bail. Mota-Vizaino and Carmona-Sanchez are being held on fifty thousand dollars cash bail. These cases will most likely be prosecuted on the Essex County Superior Court in Salem, Massachusetts.
While reading this article I could not help but wonder why the police needed seven controlled buys to achieve their goal. I understand that sometimes they want to build a relationship with the suspect in hopes of getting to the source of the drugs. And sure, if they are successful the police will get more drugs off of the streets. Yet sometimes, and all too often, they have another motive in mind. That is, to get the suspect to sell them greater quantities of drugs so that the crime, and ultimately the minimum mandatory sentence is greater. Some jurisdictions recognize this as a defense to the crime. The defense is known as sentencing entrapment. This occurs when the government makes someone, who may have a predisposition to engage in one sort of criminal activity (i.e. selling small amounts of a drug), to engage in more serious criminal activity that exposes that person to harsher punishment (i.e. trafficking a drug). The purpose of recognizing the defense is to discourage improper government conduct. Some jurisdictions recognize sentencing entrapment as a defense theory in drug cases that can result in the reduction of a sentence. Unfortunately, Massachusetts does not. See Commonwealth v. Garcia, 421 Mass. 686, 692-693 (1996).
So let’s suppose that in this case Gambaro or his two co-defendants had an inclination to sell only small amounts of cocaine and heroin. Further suppose that this is all that they had ever sold and all that they were inclined to sell. If the undercover officer kept raising the amount he wanted to buy and essentially coerced the defendants to do so a sentencing entrapment argument could be made if this case were being prosecuted in a jurisdiction that recognizes the defense.
Our office has been successful defending Drug Cases involving the Entrapment Defense in Massachusetts. Attorney Stephen Neyman has won cases involving hand-to-hand sales to undercover police officers. Every case can be defended. Call us now at 617-263-6800 or email our office if you have a case. We can help.