Illegal Alien Sentenced to Prison for Unlawfully Being in the Country
McALLEN, Texas – A 42-year-old Mexican national has been sentenced to prison for illegally re-entering the country after removal or deportation, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. A federal jury deliberated for only approximately 30 minutes before finding Candelario Lucio-Garza guilty on Jan. 23, 2018.
Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez handed Lucio-Garza a 40-month sentence to be followed by three years of supervision after his release from prison. Not a U.S. citizen, Lucio-Garza is again expected to face deportation proceedings following the sentence. At the hearing, additional evidence was also provided that detailed Lucio-Garza’s three prior convictions for illegal re-entry and that he had also been convicted of attempted murder in 1993. In handing down the sentence, the court noted Lucio-Garza’s prior convictions, the fact that he attempted to re-enter the United States just two weeks after being deported and the 32-month sentence he received for his last illegal re-entry conviction in 2015.
During the trial, law enforcement testified that Lucio-Garza had been apprehended hiding on the Pharr International Bridge just 150 yards south of the Pharr Port of Entry shortly after midnight on Oct. 16, 2017. At that time, he admitted to being a Mexican national. Record checks revealed he had also been previously removed from the United States on three separate occasions and that he had no lawful status to be in the country.
The defense attempted to convince the jury that he had not actually entered the United States because he was still on the international bridge and that it was his intent to seek asylum in the United States even though he was found hiding from law enforcement agents after the bridge was closed and had not attempted to approach the processing center.
The jury did not believe his claims and found him guilty as charged.
Lucio-Garza has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Pharr Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David M. Paxton and Linda Requénez prosecuted the case.