Luis Eduardo Soto-rodriguez Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on May 20, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, LUIS EDUARDO SOTO-RODRIGUEZ, a 29-year-old citizen of Mexico, appeared for sentencing. SOTO-RODRIGUEZ was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 4 months (time served)
- Special Assessment: $200
- Supervised Release: 1 year
SOTO-RODRIGUEZ was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to illegal re-entry of a previously deported alien and possession of false documents.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On January 21, 2009, the Mussellshell County Sheriff's Department contacted the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding a welfare check involving a residence in Roundup. Many of the occupants of the residence had supplied the deputies with what appeared to be false immigration documents.
When the ICE agent responded to the residence, she asked the occupants in Spanish their place of birth. SOTO-RODRIGUEZ responded that he was born in Mexico. She requested his immigration papers and he handed her a Permanent Resident card and a Social Security card, both of which identified him as Luis E. Soto. She recognized immediately that the Permanent Resident card was forged and she suspected the Social Security card was as well.
The agent contacted the Havre Border Patrol dispatch to check the validity of the cards. The document was immediately found to be a forgery. The agent also learned that SOTO-RODRIGUEZ had been previously removed from the United States and that he had provided false immigration documents on that occasion as well.
When questioned further, SOTO-RODRIGUEZ admitted that he had been previously deported 5 months earlier and that he received a 5 year ban from entry back into the United States. He also admitted that his complete name was Luis Eduardo Soto-Rodriguez.
A review of immigration records and a fingerprint comparison confirmed that SOTO-RODRIGUEZ had been previously removed from the United States on August 11, 2008, through Laredo, Texas. A further review of immigration records found no evidence that SOTO-RODRIGUEZ had requested or received permission from the Attorney General or the Secretary of Homeland Security to reenter the United States after being removed.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that SOTO-RODRIGUEZ will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, SOTO-RODRIGUEZ 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. Marcia K. Hurd prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.