Tisbury father and son plead guilty to drug charges

Lengthy investigation leads to plea deal, dropped charges.

Adam and David Robinson, both arrested on drug-related charges, at their arraignment in Dukes County district court. —Stacey Rupolo

Tisbury residents Adam and David Robinson each pleaded guilty to drug charges — possession with intent to distribute a class A drug (heroin) and possession of a class A drug (heroin), respectively, in Edgartown District Court on June 30. Judge Bernadette Sabra presided.

Both men were arrested at their North William Street home by members of the Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force on April 26, following a lengthy investigation. Police seized 81 individual paper folds which contained heroin, and scales commonly used to weigh drugs for distribution.

Adam Robinson, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute a class A drug (heroin). He was sentenced to two years in a house of correction with 66 days of jail credit.

David Robinson, 59, pleaded guilty to one charge of possessing a class A drug (heroin), reduced from possession with intent to distribute a class A drug. He was sentenced to one year in a house of correction and given credit for 66 days served.

Charges of conspiracy to violate drug laws and drug violation in a school zone were dropped against both men by request of the district attorney.

In Massachusetts, drug violation in a school zone is possession of an illegal controlled substance with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school. The Robinsons’ residence is within 1,000 feet of the Vineyard Montessori School. Leading up to the arrests, the director of the Montessori School contacted police after finding a syringe in front of the building.


Slow wheels of justice

Earlier in the day of his April 26 arrest in Tisbury, Adam Robinson had been in a Boston court for a pretrial conference stemming from a recent drug arrest in Mattapan.

On March 27, Boston police arrested Robinson, along with Tisbury resident Peter Estrella, with 186 paper folds of heroin (more than 30 grams), one plastic bag of cocaine (approximately 14 grams), nine Xanax pills, and two trazodone pills. He was charged with trafficking a Class A drug (heroin), possession with intent to distribute a Class B drug (cocaine), Class C and Class E drugs, and conspiracy to violate drug laws. Prosecutors requested bail of $75,000 for Mr. Robinson and $50,000 for Mr. Estrella. The judge set bail for each defendant at $7,500.

Edgartown Detective and Drug Task Force member Michael Snowden told The Times that activity at the Robinsons’ house dropped off after Adam’s arrest in March, but only briefly.
After the Robinsons’ April 26 arrests, Judge Don Carpenter set bail at $20,000 for David Robinson and $25,000 for Adam Robinson. Bail from Adam’s Boston arrest was revoked after his April 26 arrest, and he has been held in Dukes County jail ever since. Both men will serve out their sentences in the Dukes County facility.

‘Dark cloud over the neighborhood’

After the Robinsons were arrested in April, a Tisbury resident who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal told The Times that their house had been “a dark cloud over the neighborhood.”

“People have been genuinely afraid,” he said. “There are people coming and going at all hours, in all different states of mind, people screaming and yelling; it was bizarre. It came to a head last month when a woman overdosed and was half naked, half in the road. Fortunately the police saved her with Narcan, which I hear happens almost every day on the Island.”

He said police had advised them not to put up security cameras or to get directly involved because of possible retaliation when the Robinsons got out of jail.

After his March arrest in Boston, Adam Robinson was jailed for only three days before being released on bail.

Shortly after the task force bust, Tisbury Detective Max Sherman said he was hopeful the many months of surveillance work would pay off in the courtroom. “Obviously that’s out of our control, but we feel confident with the case we’re bringing forward,” he said. “Especially considering the recent Boston arrest, and the fact that they were almost literally on school property.”