One Of The Targets Of Shootout Investigation Has Extensive Criminal History

shootout-home-150x150The extensive arrest record of one of the targets of the investigation that led to the shooting of four Lakewood police officers leads to the inevitable question: Why was this guy out on the street? The criminal record of Carlos J. Franco, 35, reads like a revolving door of arrests and jail terms starting when he was 18 years old. Authorities are looking into whether news of his arrest, just hours before the no-knock warrant at the home of Jamie Gonzalez, 39, reached Gonzalez prior to officers from a multi-agency task force arriving at this house. When police went in, they were met with gunfire that struck four Lakewood officers, leaving two injured. The two others were saved from wounds by their bullet-proof vests. Franco was arrested shortly after midnight Sept. 24 — the warrant was executed around 2:30 a.m.

The record of Franco is extensive, but each time in court, he was allowed to plead down charges or have many of them dismissed. For a first-timer that’s not a problem. For a career criminal, it’s encouragement.

Franco was first arrested as an adult on aggravated assault, weapons charges and making death threats at age 18 in 1991, charges that were mostly dismissed before he was first sentenced in 1992 to five years for possession of a firearm, with parole eligibility after one year.

At release, he apparently wasn’t “scared straight,” as what followed was a string of arrests on drug, weapons and robbery charges. And after each arrest, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge while having a majority of his more serious charges dismissed.

He pleaded guilty in 1997 to distributing marijuana from a 1995 arrest — charges of possessing heroin and weapons were dismissed from that arrest along with possession of heroin, cocaine and hashish from a 1996 arrest. Apparently, being under indictment didn’t dissuade him from re-entering the drug world, as the 1996 and later arrests show.

The year 2001 was a banner one for Franco — and a good indication of what was to come. In February, he was arrested on marijuana possession and distribution charges. He pleaded guilty in June to one of those charges in an agreement that dismissed eight others. But only four days after he entered his plea, he was arrested on a robbery charge. And less than a week after that, he was charged with possession of heroin, resisting arrest and contempt of court. The robbery charge was downgraded to burglary. The heroin charge remained but the others were dismissed. He was sentenced to five years in 2002, with no chance of parole for three years.

Back out in 2006, Franco was charged with violating a court order in November, then assault, violating a court order and making death threats a month later. All those charges were transferred to Family Court. And an April 2007 arrest on theft, defiant trespass and threats were remanded to municipal court. With Franco’s history, none of his charges should be remanded or transferred out of criminal courts. Look what happened.

Some criminals do clean up their act. Franco is not one of those. His 17-year pattern is clear. Plea bargains are a way of life in the criminal justice system. But they should not be so entrenched that unrepentant and incorrigible criminals like Franco continue to game the system to the point where police offers are shot. APP

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  1. i hope everyone now sees the twisted thinking into gun control, the judges and politicians to nothing to criminals, just the law abiding person who wants a gun to protect himself that we cant have it will create chaos on the streets! thats liberals for you but keep voting them in as long as you get you food stamps and medicaid, getting mugged or beaten tot death is no big deal as long as you can keep getting the freebies

  2. Some people just comment without even properly reading the article. The article states that Franco was a target of the investigation. It seems quite clear from the article that Gonzalez and Franco were “business associates”. Where the heck does it say though that Franco EVER lived in the house? Where??!!! You’re quick to jump on the landlord that he could have found out Franco’s criminal history. Now that’s very true but since the article doesn’t even IMPLY that he ever lived there let alone signed on a lease what complaint can you have on the landlord?!! Now I’m not condoning landlords that are irresponsible or worse but please read the article before making accusations! In regard to Franco there is no valid taina on the landlord at least based on the article which you guys are using to bash him. Not ALWAYS is the landlord to blame for all our problems. How about our judicial system. Did they not know his history??

  3. Everyone is so quick to judge some unfortunate homeowner that rented to a goy without doing research. If he had rented to him in howell or jackson and he came into lakewood to shoot someone would you. Still be screaming?a landlord can never truly know what crime a tenant may commit in the future.When we allowed large developments we created an opporunity for landlords to rent homes to people that many would feel are undesirable. Developers,brokers,lenders,politicians,moisdos benefitted,but at what cost?we are now filled with slum housing ,and tenants costing the taxpayer millions. And causing quality of life issues throughout the town. We allowed the core of our town to become decrepit and at times dangerous so that a few may benefit. We fear to speak out because we will be told we are angry or jealous. A bad idea is a bad idea. Nothing more. And we are responsible to tell our leaders that we no longer allow these bad iedeas to go forward. We must find a representative for all people interests. Not just listen to empty promises about property taxes. But listen to someone that will find real solutions. And in time we will reap the benefits of these good ideas. With lower taxes. Less crime. Less traffic. Responsible growth. And atown with oppurtunities and a great future.

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