Two men arrested this past August by East Hampton Town police are now facing sentences of 12 to 36 months behind bars, with a promise of substance abuse rehabilitation.
Kevin Becker, 30, of Montauk was one of the 17 defendants picked up last summer as part of a massive narcotics sweep through the hamlet conducted by town police and agents from the East End Drug Task Force and the district attorney’s office.
Becker’s attorney, Edward Burke Jr., negotiated a deal accepted by New York State Justice Timothy Mazzei that allowed Becker to plead guilty to conspiracy to distribution at the E felony level, reduced from the more serious B felony charge. The deal was noteworthy because Becker had a prior felony conviction on a driving while intoxicated charge. He was also apparently a peripheral player in the larger narcotics distribution scheme. Burke told the court at the time that Becker had entered the Dunes Rehabilitation program.
That deal was abandoned when Becker was arrested again in early October on a new felony DWI charge in Montauk. From then on, Becker remained in county jail, while Burke negotiated on his behalf.
Originally scheduled to be sentenced on the narcotics charge October 31, that sentencing was put off several times, as Burke negotiated with District Attorney Tim Sini’s office. Burke had said all along that he believed the DWI case could be fought in court. Meanwhile, Mazzei continually postponed sentencing, until the DWI charge was dealt with.
On December 19, in East Hampton Town Justice Court, the felony drunken driving charge was dismissed, and, instead, Becker was allowed to plead guilty to a simple violation, driving with ability impaired.
The next day, Justice Mazzei sentenced Becker to 18 to 36 months, to be served at the Willard Correctional facility in the Finger Lakes region. Willard specializes in drug treatment cases.
The time Becker has been in jail during the process counts toward his sentence. With time off for good behavior, Becker could be released before the end of the year.
Fabrice Twagirumukiza of Sag Harbor was charged with felony DWI in August. With at least one past felony DWI conviction, Twagirumukiza was indicted on six new felony charges, including unlicensed driving after being convicted of DWI, as well as aggravated drunken driving, meaning he had an excessive amount of alcohol in his system when arrested in August. Bail was initially set in East Hampton at $7500, which some friends posted for Twagirumukiza, but when the case got to the county courtroom of Justice Stephen Braslow in early September, bail was upped to $50,000, and Twagirumukiza, unable to raise that amount, was placed in county jail.
On Friday, January 11, Twagirumukiza pleaded guilty as charged. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 8, apparently to a one-year sentence. Counting his time already served, and with time off for good behavior, Twagirumukiza, who is in a rehabilitation program in county jail, could be out as early as June, if Justice Braslow goes along with the one-year sentence.