News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Sentencings in illegal re-entry cases involving those with prior criminal records

July 11, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS -- In the District of Minnesota, court action continued yesterday in two separate cases regarding foreign nationals who entered the United States illegally after being deported as criminals. In each case, U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank sentenced the individual on one count of illegal re-entry after removal.

In the first case, Cristian Paolo Gutierrez Ceballos, age 28, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison. Ceballos was indicted on January 10, 2012, and pleaded guilty on March 19, 2012. In his plea agreement, Ceballos admitted that on December 21, 2011, authorities found him in the U.S. illegally after he had been deported to Guatemala. Ceballos’s deportation followed a 2006 Nevada conviction for attempted lewdness involving a child under the age of 14.

On December 21, 2011, police arrested Ceballos for not possessing a driver’s license. Ceballos, also known as Christian Gutierrez, was in the Carver County Jail when authorities identified him as an illegal alien with a criminal record. That identification was made though the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Criminal Alien Program (“CAP”). The goal of that program is to locate criminal aliens incarcerated in federal and state prisons, as well as in local jails, and prevent them from being released into society by having them federally prosecuted for illegally re-entry. In some instances, federal prosecution occurs only after the individual has been prosecuted for the recent underlying offense.

The current federal case against Ceballos resulted from an investigation by the Chaska Police Department and ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Steinkamp.

In the second case, Roman Ernesto Luna-Almaraz, age 36, was sentenced to 26 months in federal prison. He was indicted on December 12, 2011, and pleaded guilty on March 16, 2012. In his plea agreement, Luna-Almaraz admitted that on July 16, 2008, authorities found him in the U.S. illegally after he had been deported to Mexico. Luna-Almaraz’s deportation followed a 1997 Minnesota conviction for aiding and abetting the sale of cocaine.

On July 16, 2008, police arrested Luna-Almaraz for second-degree assault, aggravated forgery, and felon in possession of a firearm. ICE identified him as an illegal alien while he was serving his state sentence for those crimes.

This case was the result of an investigation by ICE ERO and the Mower County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin P. Johnson.

Both men will be deported after serving their federal sentences. To learn more about the CAP, visit

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