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Drug trafficker who had life sentence commuted by Obama, arrested on drug charges

February 6, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Drug trafficker who had life sentence commuted by Obama, arrested on drug charges

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A man convicted of drug trafficking is back in federal court after former President Barack Obama commuted his life imprisonment term.

Robert M. Martinez-Gil or Robert M. Gill  as he was referred to in a recent article by the San Antonio Express, was freed from his life sentence by Obama for conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine in the early 1990s.

President Obama commuted over 1,700 prisoners’ sentences before the end of his term, saying it was “the right thing to do” and that “we all make mistakes.” The former president sought to reform “out-of-date laws,” a White House spokesman said at the time of Gil’s commutation in 2015.

Gil was convicted of “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin” in 1992, the Justice Department reported.

He earned a job as a paralegal for a criminal defense law firm in San Antonio, after his release in 2015. However, he again turned to drug trafficking—this time by selling cocaine hours after a meeting with his probation officer, an affidavit indicated.

The Star-Telegram has an in-depth account of Gil’s latest encounter with authorities on Thursday:

Federal court records revealed that hours after he met with a federal probation officer on Thursday, Gill purchased 1 kilo of cocaine or about 2 pounds worth. He’d been under watch since January after investigators received information that he’d become involved in drugs.

After a meeting in a parking lot where he got a black backpack, a Bexar County deputy tried to pull him over, and he attempted to flee at high speed.

The documents reveal that he crashed into another vehicle and tried to escape again but was stopped by other police officers. Cocaine was discovered in the backpack, and he told police that he planned to sell it.

Gill, who had his sentence commuted by Pres. Obama, appeared in court on a separate drug charge

Gil is now facing another 40 years behind bars and was “charged with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.”

Recidivism rates for those charged with drug crimes remain at 77%, according to a Justice Department study authorized under former attorney general Eric Holder. While the press uses the euphemism “drug offenders” to paint a sympathetic image of drug dealers, there are almost no cases of simple possession in the federal system. Of those behind bars in federal prison on drug-related charges, 99.5% were found guilty of trafficking illegal drugs.

Gil’s heroin charges warrant extra attention. Over 47,000 were killed from drug overdoses in 2014 alone, including 28,647 from opioids and heroin. The CDC revealed that over 500,000 died from drug overdoses from 2000 to 2014, with heroin-induced deaths tripling between 2010 and 2015.

While in office, Obama started an unprecedented effort to reduce drug traffickers’ sentences, many of whom are armed convicts, by using his clemency powers. Using amended sentencing guidelines, the Obama administration also released 30,000 prisoners from their federal lockups.

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