Friday, July 20, 2018 Elyria 77°

Cops and Courts

Lorain police blame lax bond rules for repeat offender's drug arrest

  • latorre-jpg

    Manuel Latorre



LORAIN – A man who police referred to as a “drug dealing gang member” was arrested for trafficking drugs while out on bond for similar charges and police say Lorain County judges are at fault.

Manuel “Ock” Latorre, 27, of Georgia Avenue, was arrested Tuesday near Oberlin Avenue and Tower Boulevard on charges of trafficking in fentanyl, possession of fentanyl, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of criminal tools.

On Sept. 6, Latorre plead guilty and was convicted of participation in a criminal gang, felonious assault, two counts of trafficking in heroin, weapons under disability and trafficking in drugs with a firearms specification, according to a press release from Lorain police.

In the release, police admonished Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Betleski for not revoking Latorre’s bond after the previous arrests.

“Latorre has a previous history of drug trafficking, weapons violations and related offenses dating back to 2009,” the release states. “Latorre, who appears to have never been gainfully employed, was permitted to post bond on all four of his above listed cases. Even after his conviction, Latorre was permitted to be free on bond to continue in his pattern criminal activity.”

A spokeswoman for Betleski said Wednesday he would not comment on the press release because the case is pending.

Police said the effects of the opioid crisis “that are killing our family members” should be pushing judges to change.

“It appears that the calls for help fall on deaf ears with the judges handling Latorre’s cases,” the release states. “Judge Mark Betleski has continued to allow Latorre to prey on the citizens of Lorain County, selling fentanyl and heroin while waiting to be sentenced.”

Lorain police are encouraging Betleski to give Latorre a maximum sentence on these new charges.

“Every day drug dealers like Latorre spend on the streets of our county, more of our citizens are poisoned by the drug he sells,” the release states. “The Lorain Police Department and all of Lorain County law enforcement agencies work hard to keep scum like Latorre off our streets. Now it is time for the Lorain County judges to do their part.”

Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or Follow her on Twitter @Jodi_Weinberger.

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