Honduras citizen admits illegal re-entry
GREAT FALLS—A citizen of Honduras who was arrested while working in Havre admitted in federal court on Monday to having illegally reentered the United States, U.S. Attorney Kurt G. Alme said.
Jose Alex Ventura-Padilla, 41, of Honduras, pleaded guilty to illegal reentry.
U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided at the hearing. Judge Morris set sentencing for Jan. 23, 2019. Ventura-Padilla is detained.
Ventura-Padilla faces a maximum 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release.
If the case had gone to trial, the government would have presented the following information as evidence:
On Sept. 27, the Havre Sector Intelligence Unit of the U.S. Border Patrol received information that there was a crew working on a large water tank in Havre and that about a dozen of the workers were illegally in the country. Some of the workers had been deported multiple times. An investigation found that a North Carolina business was a subcontractor and had workers on the job.
Border Patrol agents observed one of the North Carolina company’s work trucks at a local restaurant. Three of the suspected water tower workers came out of the restaurant and walked toward the truck. An agent approached, identified himself and asked if the men were part of the crew working at the water tower. The men, including Ventura-Padilla, responded yes. Ventura-Padilla told the agent he was in the country illegally and did not have immigration documents.
Ventura-Padilla has two prior convictions for illegal reentry. He was last deported in 2010 after having served time on federal convictions and re-entered in 2015.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the U.S. Border Patrol.