NEW ORLEANS - Frenando Valdez-Lopez, 36, a resident of Mexico, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 78 months in prison for illegally re-entering the United States after deportation and for fraud and misuse of a lawful permanent resident card.
Valdez-Lopez will be placed on three years of supervised release following his prison sentence, during which time he will be under federal supervision and risks additional prison time if he violates his supervised release terms.
Valdez-Lopez was found guilty by a federal jury after a two-day trial that concluded on April 13.
The jury heard testimony that on Sept. 24, 2009, Valdez-Lopez, an alien, was found by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent to be in the United States without the proper consent after having previously been removed and deported from the United States to Mexico and that he also knowingly possessed a counterfeit permanent resident card.
Valdez-Lopez's sentence was subject to an enhancement based on a previous aggravated felony conviction in Ascension Parish, La., in 2006 for aggravated assault with a firearm.
"Prison terms like this one are a reminder that there are consequences for violating immigration law," said Philip Miller, field office director for ICE's Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in New Orleans. "Federal immigration prosecutions are an important component of ICE's interior immigration enforcement strategy and we will continue to work closely with the U.S. Department of Justice to bring these cases forward."
Miller has oversight responsibility for the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.
The case was investigated by ICE with the assistance of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).