Prosecutions Continue In Illegal Entry Cases Involving Those With Prior Criminal Records
MINNEAPOLIS -- In the District of Minnesota, court action continued this week in two separate cases regarding foreign nationals who entered the United States illegally after being deported as criminals. In each case, the individual was charged with one count of illegal re-entry after removal.
In the first case, U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle sentenced Milton Gonzalez, age 35, to 36 months in prison. Gonzalez was indicted on June 18, 2012, and pleaded guilty on July 24, 2012. In his plea agreement, Gonzalez admitted that on May 7, 2012, he was found in the U.S. after having been deported to Mexico in 2005, following a Wisconsin conviction for possession with intent to distribute amphetamine.
Most recently, Gonzalez was stopped for speeding by Prairie Island, Minnesota, tribal police and arrested on active warrants for possession and sale of counterfeit checks. He was in the Dakota County jail when he was identified as an illegal alien with a criminal record. That identification was made though the ICE’s 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.
This case was the result of an investigation by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (“ICE ERO”). It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifford B. Wardlaw and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin P. Johnson.
In the second case, on May 7, 2013, Noe Castro-Coj, age 41, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis. He was indicted on March 11, 2013. In his plea agreement, Castro-Coj admitted that on February 5, 2013, he was found in the U.S. after having been deported to Guatemala in 2003, following a 2000 Kansas conviction for kidnapping. On February 5, 2013, Castro-Coj was arrested in Steele County for violating an order for protection. On February 7, 2013, ICE was notified that he was in jail.
For his crime, Castro-Coj faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years. Judge Davis will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled. This case is the result of an investigation by the Steele County Sheriff’s Office and ICE ERO. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Dunne.
In some instances, federal prosecution occurs only after the individual has been prosecuted for the recent underlying offense. Both men will be deported after serving their federal sentences. To learn more about the CAP, visit www.ice.gov/criminal-alien-program/