MA Judge Frees Heroin Dealer Because He Was Just Trying to Make Money

Judge Timothy Feeley says Manuel Soto-Vittini's heroin dealing doesn't merit prison time because it was "basically a money crime."

A Massachusetts judge ruled Tuesday that a heroin dealer will serve no prison time because he was only dealing the deadly drug to make money.

Manuel Soto-Vittini of Peabody was arrested three years ago for possessing more than a half once of heroin in a secret compartment in his black Volvo, but he will serve to prison time thanks to Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley.

“This was basically a money crime,” Feeley said in court, according to The Salem News.

“This was not a drug addict who was dealing to fund his own addiction,” Feeley said, “but rather, a person who made some terrible judgments and decisions, but made them for what he thought was in the best interest of his family.”

Feeley also said his decision was affected by potential immigration actions the federal government would take against Soto-Vittini should he impose a harsh sentence on the heroin dealer.

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Soto-Vittini is the recipient of legal permanent status.

Prosecutor Kristen Buxton objected to the decision, according to the Salem News, saying police reports indicate Soto-Vittini’s arrest was not a one-time incident and that “he was in the ongoing business of dealing heroin.”

This is not Feeley’s first display of questionable leniency toward suspected criminals. On March 27, he lowered the bail for John Williams following his arrest on firearms charges.

Williams would go on to murder Maine sheriff’s deputy Gene Cole.



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