NEW ORLEANS – A Mexican criminal alien with a prior felony conviction for evading police with a motor vehicle pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of illegally re-entering the United States following a prior removal. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested the man Dec. 18, 2012, in Jefferson Parish.
"This case is a prime example of ICE enhancing public safety by identifying and detaining a violent felon who has repeatedly violated federal immigration law," said Scott L. Sutterfield, acting field office director of ERO New Orleans. Sutterfield oversees ERO activities in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
According to court documents, Luis Baena-Olivares, 52, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Baena-Olivares is scheduled to be sentenced June 18 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. ERO New Orleans was assisted in its investigation by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department.
Baena-Olivares was previously removed from the U.S. to Mexico by ICE in May 2004. That removal followed his release from prison in Texas after being sentenced to a year in jail on a felony evading police charge.
Overall, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 ICE removed 409,849 individuals. Of these, approximately 55 percent, or 225,390 of the people removed, were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors – almost double the removal of criminals in FY 2008.
This includes 1,215 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,557 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 40,448 aliens convicted for crimes involving drugs; and 36,166 aliens convicted for driving under the influence. ICE continues to make progress with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. Some 96 percent of all ICE's removals fell into a priority category – a record high.