October 25, 2020

Three illegal aliens guilty of reentering U.S. after being deported

Three illegal aliens pleaded guilty Thursday to reentering the U.S. illegally after being previously deported.

Lucas Ramirez-Hernandez, 28, an illegal alien from Guatemala, Jose Valdez-Santana, 36, an illegal alien from Mexico, and Angel Martinez-Garcia, 19, an illegal alien from Mexico, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr. to unlawful reentry by an alien after removal, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Jere T. Miles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans, and Gregory K. Bovino, Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector.

The defendants will be sentenced by Judge Guirola, on August 20, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. They each face a potential maximum penalty of 2 years in prison followed by one year of supervised release, and a maximum $250,000 fine. They also face being removed from the United States following the completion of any prison sentence.

On April 4, 2019, a Biloxi police officer conducted a traffic stop on a Dodge Caravan minivan on Interstate 10 east bound. The driver of the vehicle was later identified as an illegal alien from Honduras. The officer observed seven passengers – five males and two females. Since the officer did not speak Spanish, he contacted the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Lightning Operations Center, and two Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents responded to the traffic stop. All eight occupants of the vehicle were determined to be illegally present in the U.S. and were transported to the U.S. Border Patrol office in Gulfport for further processing. After interviewing the occupants, it was determined that they were being smuggled from Houston, Texas, to Maryland.

Further investigation revealed that three of the passengers (Ramirez-Hernandez, Valdez-Santana and Martinez-Garcia) were aliens who had unlawfully returned after being removed from the United States. Ramirez-Hernandez was previously removed from the United States on January 29, 2019. Martinez-Garcia was previously removed on October 13, 2015 and again on December 13, 2018. Valdez-Santana was previously removed on April 26, 2017.

U.S. Attorney Hurst praised the teamwork and cooperation exhibited by the Biloxi Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Border Patrol, and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case.