Belize Citizen Convicted in One-Day Bench Trial
|Feb. 21, 2012|
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Bernard Talbert, 37, a citizen of Belize, has been found guilty of attempted illegal re-entry into the United States after deportation, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
On Aug. 10, 2011, Talbert entered the primary pedestrian inspection lane at Veterans International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas, and presented a World Passport issued by a private organization known as the World Service Authority in Washington D.C. He asked for a non-immigrant visa so he could travel to Washington DC. to speak with President Obama about what he considered to be genocide in Belize.
The presented document was not a valid entry document and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers was sent to the secondary inspection area for further investigation. At that time, it was discovered that he had previously been deported several times and had prior felony convictions for drug trafficking and immigration crimes.
At the bench trial held today, Talbert claimed he did not intend to break the law and enter the country illegally and that he traveled from Belize believing that the World Passport was a legitimate document for entry into the U.S.
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen found him guilty at the conclusion of the trial today. Talbert will be sentenced on May 21, 2012, at which time and faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
The case was investigated by CBP and was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Stuart Alcorn.