YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Bergen County prosecutor said he couldn’t discuss why an Ecuadoran immigrant from Texas was able to avoid prison for attempted gun trafficking earlier today.
Dustin Robalino-Arcos, a 36-year-old personal trainer who authorities said had six illegal guns in his car and apartment, pleaded guilty to single counts of illegal handgun possession and maintaining a drug production facility.
In exchange, prosecutors agreed to five years of probation to be served in Texas.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor James Santulli said the decision was influenced by “extenuating circumstances, and especially because [Robalino-Arcos] will most likely be deported as a result of this sentence.”
He declined to elaborate.
Authorities initially charged Robalino-Arcos with 10 counts that included selling prescription drugs to an undercover investigator, illegally possessing a large-caliber ammunition magazine and illegally possessing, transporting and trying to sell six handguns:
• 9mm Taurus model PT809;
• Smith & Wesson SW40VD;
• silver Taurus .357 Magnum;
• SCCY model CPX-2;
• Smith & Wesson Model SD40;
• 9mm Taurus Millennium PTIII
Defense lawyer Michael Blanch argued that prison would be an extreme hardship to his client’s family.
“He has several children in Texas and he is their sole support,” the lawyer said.
Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebbi, in turn, gave him two concurrent five-year probationary sentences — “and that will be transferred to Texas, where he lives, for probation supervision,” she said.
“He is not a citizen, and there is an ICE detainer on him,” the judge noted.
Robalino-Arcos was headed to what he thought would be a gun sale in Edgewater his Aug. 10, 2012 when detectives moved in. He posted bail four days later.
An undercover detective with the Bergen County Narcotic Task Force connected with Robalino-Arcos after learning that he was running guns in the New York/New Jersey area, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said at the time.
After peddling black-market Sildenafil to the agent, Robalino-Arcos agreed to sell the six handguns for $7,200 during a meet in Edgewater, the prosecutor said.
Detectives watched him get into his car, then followed him briefly before quickly moving in, stopping the car in a safe place in Jersey City and getting Robalino-Arcos into custody, the prosecutor said.
STORY / PHOTO: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
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