Illegal Alien Sentenced to Five Years on Immigration and Firearm Offenses
United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announces that Jose Luis Alonso DeLeon was sentenced today by United States District Judge William Steele. DeLeon pled guilty without benefit of a plea agreement to an indictment charging him with possession of a firearm by an illegal alien, a violation of 18 USC Section 922(g), which carried a maximum penalty of up to ten years imprisonment and three years of supervised release; and illegal reentry of a removed alien, which carried a maximum penalty of up to two years imprisonment and one year of supervised release. DeLeon was sentenced to the maximum two years in prison for illegal reentry and five years in prison for possession of a firearm by an illegal alien, both sentences to be served concurrently. Following his sentence, the judge ordered that DeLeon be delivered to immigration authorities for deportation proceedings.
The United States argued at the sentencing hearing that the Guidelines, which recommended a sentence of 15-21 months, did not adequately account for several significant facts which should be considered by the Court in determining an appropriate sentence. Instead, the United States recommended that the defendant be sentenced to five years in prison.
First, the United States argued that the Court should consider that in addition to the defendant’s criminal history calculation, it should also consider that DeLeon, a citizen of Mexico, was found in the United States on March 25, 2014 and was ordered removed. He departed on March 27, 2014 from the Laredo, Texas Port of Entry. He had also been encountered previously in the United States by the Border Patrol on May 5, 1999, February 28, 2000, March 19, 2000; March 24, 2014, March 25, 2014 and April 24, 2014.
After the April 24, 2014 encounter he was charged with violating Title 8, U.S.C. 1325, entry without inspection. He pled guilty and served 30 days imprisonment. Despite these continued contacts, DeLeon kept returning to Baldwin County in flagrant disregard of the laws of the United States.
Most significantly, the United States argued that the Guidelines did not consider the devastating consequences of DeLeon’s presence in the United States. The defendant had admitted as part of his guilty plea that the United States could prove that on March 25, 2018, Police Officers of the Fairhope, Alabama, Police Department encountered Jose Luis Alonso DeLeon at the laundromat located at 139 Baldwin Square Shopping Center in Fairhope. Officers were in the area looking for a maroon truck that had just struck and killed a bicyclist moments before.
DeLeon was still sitting behind the steering wheel in the maroon truck. Officers observed a Glock model 26 9mm pistol on the floorboard of the truck. The Glock had one round in the chamber and had been reported stolen.
Judge Steele noted that both illegal reentry and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person were serious crimes, and both were crimes frequently prosecuted in federal court. Before imposing sentence, the judge pointed out that what made this case different from others was that the defendant came to the attention of law enforcement officers as a result of their investigation into three serious felonies under Alabama law: manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, and receiving stolen property.
Although the federal charges arose on the same date as DeLeon’s pending charges with District Attorney Bob Wilters in Baldwin County, they are separate from the Alabama state charges of manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, and receiving stolen property. DeLeon is charged in state court with causing the death of Amy Hawkins who was riding her bicycle in the northbound lane of County Road 13 in Fairhope, Alabama on March 25, 2018.
The United States Attorney, Richard W. Moore, said, “Federal law in this case is inadequate to fully address the defendant’s criminal conduct and we will support fully our law enforcement partner Baldwin County District Attorney Bob Wilters in his state court prosecution on manslaughter charges. As our prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Murphy argued to Judge Steele, the federal sentencing guidelines do not adequately capture the totality of the defendant’s criminal activity while he was in the United States illegally. Judge Steele today recognized the inadequacy of the federal sentencing guidelines (15-21 months) and gave the defendant a much higher sentence (60 months) to more properly address the defendant’s criminal conduct. No one, however, can believe that even this enhanced sentence can begin to assuage the grief of losing a wife and mother under these tragic circumstances. I am under no such illusion.
This case dramatically demonstrates the folly of having an open border with Mexico. There are real consequences to not enforcing border security. Amy Hawkins and her family paid the price of our failed immigration policies of the past. We have to do better for the American people.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has previously stated that: “The American people made clear their desire to secure our borders and prioritize the public safety and national security of our homeland. …….They want us to seize this opportunity that we have right now….The United States will not stand by as our immigration laws are ignored and our nation’s safety is jeopardized.”
This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives; the Fairhope Police Department; and ALEA. This case was prosecuted by AUSA Maria E. Murphy.