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Justice News

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

Friday, February 3, 2017

Guatemalan national pleads guilty to immigration crime

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Guatemalan national pleaded guilty today to an immigration crime, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Obed Zabaleta, 23, entered his guilty plea to illegally reentering the United States.

Zabaleta had previously been removed from the United States to his home country of Guatemala on July 24, 2014, and again on January 15, 2015. Zabaleta then illegally reentered the United States and was found in Charleston after a traffic stop by the West Virginia State Police on November 9, 2016, on I-79 near Exit 1. Zabaleta had not formally applied for permission to legally reenter the United States and was not otherwise in the United States legally.

Zabaleta faces up to two years in federal prison when he is sentenced in March 2017. He is also subject to deportation proceedings at the conclusion of this case.

The Department of Homeland Security conducted the investigation, with assistance from the West Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes is in charge of the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston.

Updated February 3, 2017