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Press Release

Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Reentering the U.S. after Being Deported

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that JOSE LUIS MERINO HERNANDEZ, also known as “Jose Mendez,” 50, pleaded guilty yesterday in Hartford federal court to one count of reentry of removed alien.  Merino Hernandez is a citizen of Mexico last residing in Waterbury.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in January 2005, Merino Hernandez was removed from the U.S. to Mexico after he sustained convictions in New York.  He illegally reentered the U.S. and was encountered by ICE while he was incarcerated in New York in November 2010.  He was removed to Mexico in January 2011.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents encountered Merino Hernandez in Tucson, Arizona, three times in May and June 2011.  After the third encounter, Merino Hernandez was charged in the District of Arizona with illegal reentry.  He was convicted of the offense, sentenced to 120 days of imprisonment, and removed to Mexico in October 2011.

On June 9, 2018, Merino Hernandez was arrested in Waterbury and charged with four counts of risk of injury of a minor, one count of interfering/resisting arrest, one count of breach of peace and one count of assault 3rd degree.  He has been detained since his arrest.  On September 10, 2018, he pleaded guilty in state court to one count of reckless endangerment in the first degree.

Merino Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced in Hartford federal court on February 11, 2019, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of two years.

This matter has been investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with the assistance of the Waterbury Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Slater.

Updated November 20, 2018