The assessment of Assistant District Attorney Will Zickl is that Carlos Torres is "committed to the commerce of illegal drugs," and today Judge Robert C. Noonan said he agrees.
Noonan noted that the probation report listed the names of six children Torres is responsible for, but in what the judge called one of the most bizzare paragraphs he's ever read in a probation report, Torres admits to fathering four other children. Torres, however, apparently doesn't know their names and their mothers have left the area.
He is obligated, according to Noonan, to make child-support payments for one of those four children, but hasn't been making payments.
"You're an irresponsible criminal who deserves the maximum sentence you negotiated," Noonan said.
Torres entered a guilty plea Jan. 9 to criminal possession in the fourth degree.
He was arrested in August and found carrying cocaine, crack and heroin with an estimated street value of more than $7,000.
At the time, Sgt. Steve Mullen, lead investigator for the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, said "The weight of the powder cocaine, along with the number of bags of both crack and heroin, on top of his $4,000 (in cash), is significant for this county."
Torres came to the attention of investigators in May 2010 when he showed up at UMMC with gunshot wounds.
At the time, he claimed he had been walking down Indian Falls Road when a car pulled up behind him, somebody demanded his wallet, then shot him. He called a friend who drove him to the hospital.
In May 2010, Torres was on probation out of Erie County for a 2008 drug conviction.
Attorney David Widenor argued vigorously that his 37-year-old client is a sincerely changed man who has seen the error of his ways.
"He wants to be a law-abiding citizen," Widenor said. "He has a family to support. He has six children he loves and wants to care for."
The August arrest derailed an opportunity for Torres to own a legitimate business locally, Widenor said, but the attempt itself was evidence that Torres knows he needs to get his life on a legitimate path.
"He wants to get out of this lifestyle he's been in," Widenor said.
Torres spoke briefly and quietly.
"I've been with the wrong people at the wrong times," Torres said. "I let my children down, but most of all, I let myself down. I want to change that."
Noonan said immediately that he agreed with Zickl's assessment.
"You have demonstrated that you're a drug dealer," Noonan said. "That's what you do and that's how you make a living."
After Noonan pronounced sentence, Torres's girlfriend, sitting in the gallery, began to cry. Torres and the woman have a child together.