U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
DOMINICAN NATIONAL CONVICTED 3 TIMES; DEPORTED TWICE
SENTENCED FOR 3rd ILLEGAL RE-ENTRY
A Dominican National twice deported after being convicted on felony drug charges, was sentenced Thursday to 24 months in federal prison for re-entering the United States illegally for a third time. 30-year-old Jose Mercedes-Leon’s most recent arrest on a felony assault charge in Woonsocket occurred less than two months after he was released from a Massachusetts prison on a third felony drug conviction.
The sentence which was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha was imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi.
Mercedes-Leon, convicted for drug dealing in New Bedford, Mass., in April 1994, was first deported from the United States in September 1999. Two years later, in September 2001, Mercedes-Leon re-entered the country illegally and was arrested about a month later in Woonsocket on a drug possession charge. He was convicted and deported to the Dominican Republic for a second time in May, 2002.
Mercedes-Leon illegally re-entered the United States for a third time and was arrested in August 2008 in or near Lawrence, Mass., and convicted on a drug dealing charge. Shortly after his release from a Massachusetts prison, Mercedes-Leon was arrested in Woonsocket in December 2008 on a felony assault charge. While being held at the Adult Correctional Institution, he was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and again charged with illegally re-entering the United States. The felony assault case is pending in Rhode Island state court.
Mercedes-Leon will face a deportation hearing upon completion of his 24 month federal prison sentence. The matter was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zechariah Chafee.