Heroin charge nets Tisbury man five years
At 3:17 pm Monday afternoon, in the second floor courtroom of the Dukes County Courthouse, a court officer slipped chains and handcuffs around Kaleb Garde's gaunt wrists and ankles. The shackling marked the first moments of the next five years of custody and incarceration for Mr. Garde, in a state prison off-Island. It also marked the end of a long saga of heroin dealing that was, in the end, rooted out by police working with the families of those who suffered from devastating addictions.
C.J. Moriarty, Associate Justice of the Dukes County Superior Court, sentenced Mr. Garde, 25, of Tisbury to five years in state prison on heroin dealing charges, as part of a plea agreement. Mr. Garde was also sentenced to three years of probation after he gets out of prison.
In court Monday, Kaleb Garde pleaded guilty to two charges of intent to distribute heroin. He also pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing prescription narcotics, including methadone and oxycodone. He consented to the forfeit of more than $45,000 seized from his room at the time of his arrest.
"Quite an unhappy circumstance," Judge Moriarty said prior to sentencing. "This young man does not have a significant record. This is, however, a big time crime, also recognizing the harm you inflicted on many people on this Island. It's regrettable that you've inflicted the harm upon yourself, upon your family, but also the dreadful harm you have inflicted on the community. If you ever come back before this court, you'll be facing much more significant consequences."
A few minutes earlier, Rosaline Gaspar, Mr. Garde's girlfriend, pleaded guilty to two charges of intent to distribute heroin, as part of a plea agreement. The judge is to sentence Ms. Gaspar on December 11 following a pre-sentence report from the Barnstable County probation department.
Ms. Gaspar was taken into custody in the courtroom and was hampered by her shackles as she tried to wipe the tears from here eyes. She will remain imprisoned at the Barnstable House of Correction while the pre-sentencing report is completed. Assistant district attorney Laura Marshard said the Commonwealth would consider the pre-sentence report in recommending a sentence.
Judge Moriarty ordered a thorough examination of Ms. Gaspar, who has no prior criminal record, for the report. If appropriate, Ms. Gaspar could be eligible for in-patient drug treatment, followed by outpatient drug treatment, and a significant period of closely supervised probation. If the pre-sentencing report finds drug treatment is not appropriate, Ms. Marshard will argue for a 2.5-year House of Corrections sentence, with 18 months to be served, and three years of probation.
Judge Moriarty spoke sternly to the defendants on several occasions. He took an unusual amount of time in explaining the legal intricacies of the guilty pleas by Mr. Garde and Ms. Gaspar. He questioned them closely to make sure they understood their rights and the rights they were giving up by agreeing to plead guilty. He also grilled the defense lawyers, advising Ms. Gaspar's attorney Richard Piazza that he is not bound by the plea agreement or the pre-sentence evaluation. "It may be that I won't like what's in the pre-sentence [report]," the judge said.
Judge Moriarty advised Ms. Gaspar that if he rejects the recommendations of the pre-sentence report, or decides to impose a longer sentence, he would give her a chance to withdraw her guilty plea and proceed to trial. At one point during the judge's questioning of Mr. Garde, it appeared that Mr. Garde's attention wandered. "Mr. Garde are you listening," Judge Moriarty said, speaking sharply.
"I am listening," Kaleb Garde said.
"Then face me," Judge Moriarty said sharply.
Mr. Garde and Ms. Gaspar were among six people arrested on November 18, 2008, by the Martha's Vineyard Drug Task Force during execution of a search warrant that targeted the pair. They were arrested at the Vineyard Haven home of Kaleb Garde's parents, Kenneth and Nina Garde.
According to court records, police seized 127 grams, or nearly 4.5 ounces, of heroin from Kaleb Garde's room. They also seized two scales with heroin residue on them, and more than $40,000 in cash.
The search surprised several members of the drug task force. Though they had targeted Kaleb Garde during a year-long investigation, they did not expect to find such large quantities of heroin and cash. Police say they were able to make their case with the help of Island families whose family members became addicted to heroin sold by Kaleb Garde or his associates.
Kenneth and Nina Garde sat in the front row of the courtroom during the proceeding, as they have for each of the hearings, arraignments, and other court appearances over the past year. Nina Garde wept quietly. Also in the courtroom were Hannah and Daniel Garde, who were arrested during execution of the search warrant. Both still face drug charges in Edgartown District Court.
Garrett Gibson, 24 at the time of his arrest, from Oak Bluffs, and Alexander Carlson, 22 at the time of his arrest, from Edgartown, were the other two defendants arrested in this case. In August, both pleaded guilty to drug charges, and were sentenced to 2.5 years in a House of Correction, 18 months to serve, and the balance suspended during three years of probation.
Kenneth Garde spoke with The Times by phone on Tuesday. "As far as my wife and I are concerned, this case is over now," Kenneth Garde said. "Kaleb is accepting responsibility. He's going to pay a price. I know that he is very remorseful and contrite.
Kenneth Garde said his son's imprisonment has not stopped heroin addiction on Martha's Vineyard. "This is a horrible drug," he said. "It's devastating to a lot of families. Other people have picked up since he [Kaleb] stopped. It's not getting solved. Anybody that thinks it's gone away is fooling themselves."