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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Guatemalan Man Sentenced for Illegally Re-Entering U.S. After Prior Removal

 

Gulfport, Miss. – Wilson Walberto Clemente-Perez, 27, a citizen of Guatemala, was sentenced today to 4 months in federal prison for illegally re-entering the United States after being lawfully removed, announced U.S. Attorney D. Michael Hurst, Jr., and Thomas M. Annello, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (AICE@) Homeland Security Investigations (AHSI@) in New Orleans, Louisiana. Clemente-Perez also faces Department of Homeland Security removal proceedings.

Further, Clemente-Perez was sentenced to 1 year of supervised release during which time he could face additional penalties if he were to unlawfully return to the United States, in addition to any other penalty. As a result of this felony conviction, if Clemente-Perez were to unlawfully return again to the United States, he could face up to 10 years in federal prison. Clemente-Perez was convicted after pleading guilty on January 26, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., in Gulfport.

On November 5, 2017, a Honda CRV in which Clemente-Perez was a passenger was stopped by a Pearl River County Sheriff’s Deputy on Interstate-59 in Pearl River County, Mississippi, for speeding. While the Honda CRV was designed to seat five people, the deputy observed that, in addition to the driver, there were five unidentified passengers. The driver could not identify his passengers and the deputy could not communicate with the passengers due to a language barrier. Suspecting human smuggling, the deputy contacted the Department of Homeland Security and a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations was dispatched. A Mississippi Highway Patrol State Trooper also provided assistance.

Upon opening the Honda CRV’s cargo door, three additional passengers were found covered in the cargo area of the vehicle bringing the total number of occupants in the vehicle to nine including the driver. Clemente-Perez was one of the passengers in the cargo area. All of the vehicle occupants were taken to the Pearl River County Jail. Further investigation by Homeland Security Investigations revealed that Clemente-Perez previously had been removed from the United States on September 28, 2017, by the Department of Homeland Security after a lawful order of removal had been issued.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Emerson Isaac Hernandez-Turcios, age 26, a citizen of Honduras, and a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States. On January 5, 2018, Hernandez-Turcios pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens Within the United States, and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 5, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden. Hernandez-Turcios faces up to 10 years in federal prison, plus 3 years of supervised release, a $250,000.00 fine, and $5,100.00 in special assessments.

U.S. Attorney Hurst praised the cooperation exhibited by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department and the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris was the prosecutor for the case.

Updated March 13, 2018