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Justice News

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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mexican National Convicted Of Illegal Re-entry Despite Fraudulently Obtaining Texas Birth Certificate

McALLEN, Texas - A federal jury in McAllen has convicted Mexican National Felipe Oviedo-Cerda, aka Felipe Telles-Sanchez or Mario Trevino-Leal, 55, on one count of illegally re-entering the country, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The verdict was returned following a two-day trial and approximately two hours of deliberations.

During trial, the government presented documentary evidence and witness testimony illustrating Oviedo-Cerda’s unlawful entry despite being an aggravated felon. Since his first deportation in 1984, the evidence showed he had relied upon numerous aliases and other false information to avoid detection by law enforcement and immigration authorities. 

In 2002 and while in federal custody pending a similar indictment, Oviedo-Cerda fraudulently obtained a delayed birth certificate from the State of Texas reflecting that he was born in Rio Grande City in 1958. The Department of Vital Statistics later flagged this document only to re-issue the birth certificate in 2008 to him after had been released from federal prison, deported and provided additional false documentation. The evidence at trial indicated Oviedo-Cerda had resided in the United States since 2008 by relying upon this birth certificate and other false documents.

At trial, the government also relied upon expert fingerprint testimony to connect Oviedo-Cerda to his long history of aliases and false identities. Other witnesses with personal knowledge of the defendant testified that despite his birth in Zacatecas, Mexico, Oviedo-Cerda used forged, altered and fraudulent documents to obtain the delayed birth certificate under the name Felipe Telles. Based upon this evidence, the Texas Department of Vital Statistics has again flagged this birth certificate.   

The defense attempted to convince the jury that the Texas delayed birth certificate proved he was born in Rio Grande City and/or proved the valid birth certificate at least gave him status to be in the country when apprehended. The jury disagreed and found him guilty as charged.

Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa, who presided over the trial, has set sentencing for Nov. 25, 2013, at which time he faces up to 20 years imprisonment. Oviedo-Cerda has been in custody since his arrest Sept. 23, 2011, where he will remain pending sentencing.

This case was investigated by Border Patrol and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Grady J. Leupold.

Updated April 30, 2015