News and Press Releases

Magdaleno Barragan Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Monday, March 09, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on March 9, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, MAGDALENO BARRAGAN, a 45-year-old resident of Butte, entered a nolo contendere plea and was sentenced. He received the following sentence:

  • Probation: 5 years
  • Special Assessment: $10
  • Fine: $5,000

BARRAGAN was sentenced in connection with his nolo contendere plea to unlawful employment of aliens.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

Between January and March of 2006, BARRAGAN employed at least three illegal aliens at his Melaque Mexican restaurants - MB, HM, and CL. All three were subsequently deported from the United States in early 2007.

In May of 2007, during a search of BARRAGAN'S restaurants by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), MB, HM, and CL were again found to be working for BARRAGAN. MB was working at BARRAGAN'S Belgrade restaurant. HM and CL were working at the Butte location. Employment records on file with the State of Montana confirm that all three aliens were employed for BARRAGAN, both in 2006 before they were deported and in May of 2007. The timing of their employment for BARRAGAN and their removals from the United States, as well as MB's and CL's family ties to BARRAGAN, provide circumstantial evidence of BARRAGAN'S knowledge of the aliens' immigration status. And the fact that three different illegal aliens were employed on two separate occasions demonstrates a pattern or practice.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that BARRAGAN will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, BARRAGAN does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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