I would not want to be a New Bedford police officer – risking your life to arrest career criminals only to repeatedly see them released back into society the next day on a low bail or personal recognizance. It’s the same 1% of New Bedford committing the majority of the crime because criminals have no fear of our weak judicial system.
Tuesday was a perfect example – 37-year old Roberto Lugo-Gallardo was arrested with fentanyl and is being charged with intent to distribute it. Fentanyl is the synthetic opioid that is causing the vast majority of overdoses in New Bedford and across the country. The judge in this case doesn’t seem to care and released Lugo-Gallardo on personal recognizance.
A few weeks ago, Michael Viruet didn’t let 20 previous convictions stop him from being arrested with 10 grams of Fentanyl and more than $3,000 in cash. Police seized the drugs after Viruet led New Bedford police officers on a dangerous police chase which resulted in him crashing into a ditch. Again, Fentanyl is causing all the overdoses and this dealer wouldn’t be selling it if judges did their job.
Three weeks ago, an alert New Bedford police officer picked up 26-year old Ramon Sanchez while he was driving. He had open cases for two counts of assault and battery on a pregnant woman, two charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering in the daytime and breaking and entering in the daytime to commit a felony. Sanchez has a long criminal history, including charges of assault and battery on a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon and cruelty to animals. How was he even on the street?
In August of this year, 52-year old Mark Salazar was arrested for at least the 87th time at the notorious drug den known as 358 North Front Street. This is the property that was raided three times by New Bedford police in a 6 week period this summer. Salazar had 52 convictions, but found his way back on the streets.
In January of this year, Ronnie Oliver, a New Beford man with 80 arraignments and 19 convictions, was given $500 bail after he was arrested for breaking into Buzi Salon and Hungry Whale Pub.
These are just a few examples of hundreds just this year alone on how our judges have allowed career criminals back onto the street to victimize us. There is absolutely no reason why criminals with double digit convictions should be given low bails or simply released on personal recognizance.
Our politicians have also failed us. They refuse to hold judges accountable or pass laws to be tougher on career criminals that menace society and burden our hard working police officers. If we want to make New Bedford a safer place, our representatives have to replace the judges that continue to allow career criminals back on the streets to terrorize society. Our police do their jobs very well, it’s time for the politicians and judges to do theirs or be replaced.