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.


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