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Enforcement and Removal

2 Mexicans plead guilty to reentering the US after deportation

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - Two Mexican nationals, who had previously been deported from the United States, pleaded guilty Jan. 5 in federal court to illegally reentering the country.

Isaias Sarabia-Santiago, 28, admitted before U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., that he illegally reentered the United States following his deportation because of a felony assault conviction. Isaias Sarabia Santiago, who is scheduled to be sentenced on April 7, 2011, faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine.

The conviction stems from a traffic stop conducted by the West Virginia State Police on Sept. 14, 2010, on the West Virginia Turnpike for running a toll booth near Beckley. Sarabia-Santiago, a passenger in the car, admitted to being in the United States illegally. Troopers then notified agents with ICE, who learned that Sarabia-Santiago had been removed from the United States by ICE and had reentered the country illegally. Sarabia-Santiago was convicted in North Carolina for assaulting a person with a firearm and inflicting serious bodily injury.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the West Virginia State Police conducted the investigation.

In an unrelated case, Jose Rico-Alcala, 41, also of Mexico, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston to illegally reentering the United States. Following his guilty plea, Rico-Alcala was immediately sentenced to credit for time served and was handed over to ICE custody pending deportation proceedings.

On Oct. 7, 2010, Rico-Alcala was a passenger in a car stopped on I-64 in South Charleston by officers with the South Charleston Police Department. Rico-Alcala, who admitted to being in the United States illegally, was subsequently transferred to ICE custody. Agents learned that Rico-Alcala had been deported from the United States back to Mexico in 2006 and again in 2010. Rico-Alcala admitted to reentering the United States without permission on both occasions.

The South Charleston Police Department and ICE jointly conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik S. Goes handled both cases.