News and Press Releases

Bruno Lopez-cruz Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Friday, July 31, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls on July 30, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, BRUNO LOPEZ-CRUZ, a citizen of Mexico, pled guilty to illegal re-entry of a previously deported alien. Sentencing is set for November 2, 2009. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On June 9, 2009, agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered LOPEZ-CRUZ while conducting a train check in Havre. When questioned as to his citizenship, LOPEZ-CRUZ stated that he was a United States citizen born in Browning. However, after further questioning LOPEZ-CRUZ admitted that he was born in Mexico and produced an expired Mexican passport with no U.S. Visa.

A fingerprint examination identified LOPEZ-CRUZ as having been previously deported on August 25, 2005, and again on October 13, 2006. It also indicated that he was a native and citizen of Mexico.

A review of immigration records revealed that LOPEZ-CRUZ had previously been convicted of fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents on August 4, 2005, prior to his deportation on August 25, 2005.

Further review of immigration records found no evidence that he had ever requested, or obtained permission from the Attorney General of the United States or his successor, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to apply for re-entry into the United States.

LOPEZ-CRUZ faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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



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