News and Press Releases

Pierce County Man gets Lengthy Term Following Trial on Immigration Crimes

December 8, 2010

BERNARDINO RAMIREZ-SANTOS, 42, most recently of Pierce County, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to seven years in prison for illegal re-entry after deportation. RAMIREZ-SANTOS was convicted by a jury on July 29, 2010. RAMIREZ-SANTOS, a citizen of Mexico, has been deported from the U.S. on four prior occasions, and prosecuted twice previously for returning after those deportations. Over the past 20 years, RAMIREZ-SANTOS also has numerous convictions related to drug trafficking. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan said “This is one of the worst illegal re-entry cases I have ever seen... Mr. Ramirez-Santos has earned a long time in custody.”

According to records filed in the case, RAMIREZ-SANTOS was incarcerated in the Pierce County jail for criminal trespassing, when he came to the attention of agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A records check revealed that RAMIREZ-SANTOS had previously been deported from the U.S. on four occasions. RAMIREZ-SANTOS was transferred to ICE custody and charged with returning after deportation. The records check revealed that RAMIREZ-SANTOS also had an extensive criminal history with convictions for Accomplice to Delivery of Cocaine (1989), Possession of Cocaine (1991), Conspiracy to Deliver Heroin (1993), Unlawful Solicitation to Deliver Heroin (1994), Unlawful Delivery of Heroin (1995), First Degree Escape (1995), Driving Under the Influence (2009), and Criminal Trespass (2010). RAMIREZ-SANTOS has been convicted of illegal re-entry in both the Eastern and Western Districts of Washington.

“This prison sentence sends a strong message of deterrence to criminal aliens who think they can treat our borders like a revolving door,” said Nathalie Asher, field office director for Enforcement and Removal Operations in Seattle. “Federal immigration prosecutions are an important component of ICE's interior immigration enforcement strategy and we will continue to work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s office to bring these cases forward and ensure the violators face justice.”

In asking for a long prison sentence, Special Assistant United States Attorney John Odell said this case was both extremely egregious and extremely rare. “Since the time defendant first entered the United States illegally in 1989, he has received sentences for his criminal misconduct totaling more than twenty-four (24) years. This is an astounding feat considering the fact that the defendant has only been in our country for about twenty-two (22) years. The toll that the defendant has taken on our country’s immigration and criminal justice systems cannot be understated,” Mr. Odell wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys John Odell and Don Reno. Both men are attorneys with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) specially designated to prosecute immigration cases in federal court.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.



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