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04/26/2011

SUR-13 gang member pleads guilty to federal immigration charge

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Manuel Garcia-Martinez, a/k/a Daniel Garcia-Martinez, a/k/a Marco Hernandez , 35, of Graniteville, S.C., and Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, pled guilty Monday in federal court in Columbia, to illegal re-entry into the United States after deportation, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents.

U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour of Columbia accepted the plea and imposed a time served sentence today. Garcia-Martinez will be turned over to immigration authorities for deportation proceedings. He had faced a two-year statutory maximum sentence on the charge.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Garcia-Martinez was located in the Graniteville area of South Carolina after local authorities responded to a domestic incident at a residence. Local authorities recognized Garcia-Martinez from a previous incident in 2008 when he was deported and they notified agents with ICE HSI, who verified that Garcia-Martinez, a SUR-13 gang member, was illegally back in the United States.

Garcia-Martinez was arrested Feb. 8 on the federal immigration charge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Columbia office handled the prosecution.