Prosecutions Continue In Illegal Entry Cases Involving Those With Prior Criminal Records
In the District of Minnesota, court action continued in federal cases involving two Mexican nationals who entered the United States illegally after being deported as criminals. Yesterday in St. Paul, one of those men pleaded guilty to one count of illegal re-entry after removal, while earlier in the week a second man also pleaded guilty to one count.
Yesterday, Daniel Reyes-Zavaleta, age 28, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson. He was indicted on April 9, 2012. In his plea agreement, Reyes-Zavaleta admitted that on March 26, 2012, he was found in the U.S. after having been previously deported in 2010 following a conviction in Wright County for malicious punishment involving a child. He was arrested on March 26 as part of Operation Cross Check, a national roundup of criminal and fugitive aliens. That roundup, led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), yielded more than 3,100 arrests, including 56 in Minnesota.
For his crime, Reyes-Zavaleta faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, followed by deportation to Mexico. Judge Nelson will determine his sentence at a future hearing. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino.
On June 25, 2012, Christian Rangel-Morales, age 27, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis. He was indicted on May 15, 2012. In his plea agreement, Rangel-Morales admitted that on April 10, 2012, he was found in the U.S. illegally after having been previously deported. His deportation followed a 2006 conviction in Ramsey County for first-degree sale of drugs. On April 10, 2012, he was arrested in Stillwater for selling methamphetamine. He was in the Washington County jail when he was identified as an illegal alien with a criminal record. That identification was made though the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Criminal Alien Program (“CAP”). The goal of that program is to locate criminal aliens incarcerated in federal and state prisons, as well as in local jails, and prevent them from being released into society by having them federally prosecuted for illegally re-entering the U.S. In some instances, federal prosecution will occur only after the individual is prosecuted for the recent underlying offense.
For his crime, Rangel-Morales faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, followed by deportation. Judge Davis will determine his sentence at a future hearing. This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (“ICE ERO”). It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin P. Johnson.
Both men will remain in custody until their current federal cases are resolved. To learn more about the CAP, visit www.ice.gov/criminal-alien-program/