RICHMOND, Va. – A federal judge convicted a Richmond man today after a bench trial on the charge of illegally reentering the United States following removal after a felony conviction.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Rodrigo Martinez-Mendoza, 54, a citizen of Mexico, first made illegal entry into the United States in 1993. In 1996 in Texas, he was convicted of forgery. Immigration authorities learned of the matter and commenced removal proceedings. Following processing, Martinez-Mendoza was then released on his own recognizance. In May 1997, Martinez-Mendoza failed to appear at his scheduled hearing, and was ordered deported to Mexico, and a warrant was issued. In August 2005, ICE Special Agents encountered Martinez-Mendoza at Fort Lee Army Base in Petersburg, and was then processed for deportation. In September 2005, Martinez-Mendoza was removed to Mexico at taxpayer expense. Thereafter on an unknown date, at an unknown location, he illegally returned to the United States.
In October 2009, Martinez-Mendoza was arrested by officers of the ICE Fugitive Operations Team in Chester and later pleaded guilty and served four months before being deported to Mexico at taxpayer expense. On an unknown date, Martinez-Mendoza illegally returned to the United States.
In December 2017, in Petersburg, Martinez-Mendoza was arrested by law enforcement officers from the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force for felony malicious wounding. In October 2018, he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Richmond Circuit Court and sentenced to a term of five years in prison with four years suspended.
Martinez-Mendoza faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on December 10. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Lyle A. Boelens, Acting Field Office Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C., made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson accepted the verdict. Assistant U.S. Attorney S. David Schiller is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:17-cr-164.