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OXNARD : Boy Says Brother Got Him to Sell Cocaine

An Oxnard man must stand trial on charges of forcing his 12-year-old brother to sell drugs, but the defendant’s girlfriend will face lesser charges, a Ventura County judge ruled Friday.

Municipal Judge John R. Smiley found probable cause to uphold charges against 25-year-old Roberto Guadalupe Avitia of inducing a minor to sell narcotics, possession of cocaine and possession of heroin. He faces up to 11 years in prison.

The judge dismissed a charge of inducing a minor to sell narcotics against Avitia’s girlfriend, Maria Racquel Chavez, 21. Chavez was ordered to stand trial on the othercharges of possessing cocaine and heroin and faces up to five years in prison.

The boy was arrested Aug. 4 after police raided the family’s apartment in a crime-ridden south Oxnard neighborhood. The raid was conducted after the boy sold $60 worth of cocaine to an undercover officer. He later told police he was working for the two defendants, authorities said.

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But on the witness stand Friday, the thin, dark-haired child said that only his brother instructed him to sell the drugs. Testifying under a grant of immunity, the boy said Chavez told him it was bad to deal in narcotics.

The boy estimated that he conducted 30 drug sales during the two-week period before his arrest. “Isn’t it true that it was Roberto who helped you sell drugs but not Racquel,” questioned defense attorney Tim Quinn.

“Yes,” answered the boy through a translator.

“Did Roberto teach you to sell drugs?”

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“More or less,” the boy testified.

After the hearing, Deputy Dist. Atty. Brian S. Rafelson maintained that evidence suggests that Chavez also encouraged the boy’s drug-trafficking endeavors. Prosecutors had not decided whether to refile the charge against her, as is allowed under law, he said.


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