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Press Release

Illegal Alien Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Reentry after Removal

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi

Gulfport, Miss. – Miguel Ayala-Guarchaj, 33, a citizen of Guatemala, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., to the felony offense of unlawful reentry by an alien after removal, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, and Gregory K. Bovino, Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector.

On August 6, 2018, a South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team Agent, who is also a City of Gautier Police Officer, was on duty along Interstate 10 East in Jackson County. The Metro Enforcement Team is an interagency task force that patrols known smuggling routes in Jackson County including I-10. At about 7:45 a.m., the agent stopped a 2015 Toyota Corolla with a fraudulent Texas license paper tag. His training and experience as an interdiction agent led him to believe that he had interrupted an alien smuggling event in progress, and he called the U.S. Border Patrol. Two Border Patrol agents, including a fluent Spanish speaker, responded to the scene and determined that the driver had been a passenger in a vehicle that had recently been stopped by agents on I-10, although no arrests had been made.

Agents also noted multiple indicators that alien smuggling was taking place. Ultimately, the driver was arrested for transporting illegal aliens. His five passengers were arrested for being illegally present in the United States, and all were transported to the Gulfport Border Patrol Station for processing. At the Border Patrol Station, two of the five illegal alien passengers were identified as having been lawfully removed from the United States.

Ayala-Guarchaj was one of those passengers, and was positively identified through Department of Homeland Security computerized record checks including fingerprints and photographs. Using Homeland Security database queries, agents determined that Ayala-Guarchaj, was a citizen of Guatemala and an illegal alien who had been lawfully removed from the United States in 2008. Finally, agents determined that Ayala-Guarchaj had not received permission to reenter to the United States when he illegally returned in 2018.

U.S. Attorney Hurst praised the coordinated work of the United States Border Patrol, the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team and the City of Gautier Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case.

Updated September 26, 2018

Human Smuggling