Caldwell Man Pleads Guilty to Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
BOISE – Rojelio Garcia, also known as Jose Vela Garza, 56, of Caldwell, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boise for failing to register as a sex offender, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.
According to the plea agreement, Garcia pled guilty in 1988 to aggravated sexual assault in Salt Lake County, Utah, and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years to life on March 9, 1988. His sentence required him to register as a sex offender.
Garcia came to the attention of investigators in Idaho in late June 2011, when an investigator with the Idaho Sex Offender Watch program learned that Caldwell Police had arrested Garcia on May 14, 2011, for several misdemeanors and had bonded out of jail. After checking Garcia's registration status in Utah, the investigator contacted the Idaho Sex Offender Registry to determine if Garcia had complied with Idaho sex offender registration laws. The investigator discovered that Garcia had not registered in Idaho, a violation of the federal Sex Offender Registration Notification Act (SORNA). The investigator was unable to locate Garcia because he had provided false identity and residence information to law enforcement at the time of his arrest in May.
A deputy United States Marshal pieced together a timeline of Garcia's recent activity. According to court records, on April 5, 2008, Caldwell police arrested Garcia—who at the time was using the name Jose Vela Garza—on a fugitive warrant from Utah. Garcia was returned to Utah, and on May 25, 2008, his parole was revoked and he was returned to prison. Utah Corrections released Garcia on July 20, 2010, and since that time he had resided at several locations in Canyon County using an assumed name.
The charge of failing to register as a sex offender carries a maximum punishment of up to ten years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, and a minimum term of five years to lifetime supervised release.
Sentencing is set for June 6, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Idaho Sex Offender Watch Task Force.
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), which was passed by Congress in 2006, requires sex offenders to register and keep their registration current in each jurisdiction where they reside, are employed or are students. Violations of SORNA can be prosecuted in federal court.
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