Immigration agents arrest Massachusetts man after criticism of sentence

PEABODY, Mass. (AP) — Immigration agents have arrested a Massachusetts man whose sentence for selling heroin sparked criticisms that the judge in the case was too lenient.

Manuel Soto-Vittini, of Peabody, was sentenced last month to two years’ probation on heroin distribution charges. His case drew attention after a court transcript revealed that Judge Timothy Feeley said he would have sent Soto-Vittini to jail if he were a citizen.

Soto-Vittini is a legal permanent resident of the U.S.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman says he is being detained for violating terms of his status in the U.S.

Soto-Vittini’s lawyer tells The Salem News that media coverage of the case likely spurred immigration officials to arrest his client.

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Some people called for Feeley’s removal from the bench for what they considered a lenient sentence.