Woman arrested in Williamstown drug raid gets up to 5 years in prison

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PITTSFIELD — Through tears, a younger brother asked for leniency in his sister's sentence on drug-distribution charges.

"She saved my life, literally," the brother said of 26-year-old Melyza S. Rojas, speaking to Judge John Agostini in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday. "She took a lot of beatings for me."

Rojas, and her co-defendant, 20-year-old Erik D. Torres, both of Springfield, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a March, 14, 2018, drug bust in a Williamstown motel room.

According to First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Karen Bell, when police entered the room, Rojas ran to the bathroom, where bags containing cocaine and heroin were recovered from the toilet.

In all, police recovered 65 bags of heroin and about 17.6 grams of cocaine, slightly under the 18-gram threshold for a charge of trafficking.

Bell, who was recommending a prison sentence of three to five years, noted Rojas' record, which she said showed four previous convictions on drug charges and two open narcotics cases, one in Hampden County, the other in Vermont.

Bell said Rojas' plea would be her fifth drug conviction, with two more cases against her still open.

Rojas' attorney, Colin Keefe, made an impassioned plea to Agostini to consider the 2 1/2-year jail sentence he was recommending over the up to five years in state prison sought by the state.

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Keefe went into lengthy detail documenting Rojas' difficult upbringing, alluding to "unmentionable" abuse she had suffered while growing up and being moved from home to home.

Agostini acknowledged Rojas' trauma but said people with similar backstories have come before him with fewer convictions at her age.

"She's a professional drug dealer," Agostini said. "That's what she does."

Under the circumstances, the state's recommendation was not unreasonable, he said.

With that, Agostini sentenced Rojas to two to five years in prison on one count each of possession of cocaine and heroin, both with the intent to distribute.

Her sentence will be served at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham. She will receive credit for 488 days served in custody.

Torres pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced to two years in jail, with one year of that sentence to be served directly and the balance suspended for two years, during which time he will be placed on probation. Torres will receive credit for 122 days of time served.

That sentence was the result of an agreed-upon recommendation between Bell and Torres' attorney, Nathaniel Green.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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