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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Minkler announces federal immigration charges against illegal alien involved in I-70 motor vehicle accident


Indianapolis United States Attorney Josh Minkler today announced federal charges against an illegal alien from Guatemala. Manuel Orrego-Zavala 37, was charged by a criminal complaint with illegal re-entry of a previously deported alien.

“The defendant in this case allegedly re-entered the country illegally for the second time before he put the public safety of Indianapolis at risk and took the lives of two innocent men early Sunday morning,” said Minkler. “In April, Attorney General Sessions directed all federal prosecutors to prioritize charging aliens that illegally re-enter the country, especially if they are a risk to public safety or there is a criminal history present. Following  the rule of law is the foundation of our American democracy, and my office is committed to fulfilling the Attorney General’s directive.”

According to the criminal complaint, Orrego-Zavala was encountered by law enforcement in Indianapolis, Indiana, on February 4, 2018, when he was arrested after being involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident on Interstate 70. At the time of his arrest, Orrego-Zavala provided law enforcement authorities with the alias, “Alex G. Cabrera,” but Homeland Security agents soon learned—through cooperation and information sharing with the Indianapolis Metro Police Department—his true identity was Manuel Orrego-Zavala, a citizen of Guatemala.

The complaint further states Orrego-Zavala was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE ERO) in October 2006, and removed from the United States to Guatemala in January 2007. At that time, Orrego-Zavala was prohibited from returning to the United States for 10 years. In March 2009, he was arrested by ICE ERO and in May 2009, removed to Guatemala and prohibited from returning for 20 years. 

Orrego-Zavala will remain in custody while the case is investigated by the Indiana State Police and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. The immigration charges will remain pending until the conclusion of all state matters.

A criminal complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.

According to Assistant United States Attorney William McCoskey who is prosecuting this case for the government, Orrego-Zavala faces up to 10 years of imprisonment if convicted.

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to utilize and partner with law enforcement agencies to prosecute illegal immigration cases. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 1.8







Updated February 7, 2018