A man whose life sentence for drug distribution conspiracy was recently commuted by former President Barack Obama is back in jail after allegedly crashing his vehicle while fleeing from a drug deal.
Robert Martinez Gill (below), 68, had his life sentence commuted by President Obama in 2015 together with other 1,700 federal inmates as a broader strategy to give relief to nonviolent offenders serving prison for drug offenses, the San Antonio Express-News reports.
He’d served prison time for cocaine and heroin distribution conspiracy since 1992. He also earned a legal education inside prison libraries and petitioned the president for a second chance after his court appeals were unsuccessful.
In a signed notification approving the commutation application in 2015, then-President Obama wrote that Gill deserves it “because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. … Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity.”
On Thursday, however, he was arrested in San Antonio by the police after allegedly crashing his vehicle into another motorist while fleeing from a drug deal.
According to a criminal complaint affidavit, Gill contacted an unidentified person to arrange a drug deal involving a kilo of cocaine. After he received a black backpack and started driving, a sheriff’s deputy tried to pull him over.
The records claim Gill fled the police, but then collided with another motorist. He again tried to drive away, but his car was disabled by law enforcement officers. Agents found the backpack in the car, containing a kilo of cocaine, the affidavit said.
Gill was taken to court on Friday and the judge ordered to hold him without bond pending a bail later in February. The man is charged with possession with intent distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
He faces a sentence with a mandatory minimum, five years, and could get up to 40 years in prison.
Ronald Schmidt, a lawyer who helped Gill to appeal his sentence in the courts, told the newspaper: “I’m so disappointed to hear that he got arrested again.”