DENVER - After his fifth conviction for the same crime, a Mexican man was sentenced on Thursday to serve five years in federal prison for unlawfully re-entering the United States after having been deported following an aggravated felony conviction. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney David Gaouette, District of Colorado, and John P. Longshore, field office director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Denver.
Cuatemoc Arias-Rodriguez, aka Jesus Leyba-Ramirez, aka Jorge Rios Santana, 34, of Sinaloa, Mexico, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on March 22. He pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock on May 4, and was sentenced to serve 60 months in federal prison on July 22.
Arias-Rodriguez, who appeared at the hearing in custody, was remanded to start serving his sentence.
According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, on Feb. 26 Arias-Rodriguez was encountered by a federal immigration enforcement agent in the Denver County Jail. He had been arrested by the Denver Police Department on Feb. 23 for making a false report using a false name. On March 1, Arias-Rodriguez was released by the Denver County Sheriff's Office and was placed in ICE custody. Arias-Rodriguez then stated that he last illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in January 2010, near San Ysidro, Calif. ICE agents checked their records and discovered that Arias-Rodriguez was deported numerous times since 1995. He was last deported on Dec. 28, 2008.
Anyone who re-enters the United States after being formally deported commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
"This latest conviction shows firsthand how various law enforcement agencies work together to remove criminal aliens from our streets," said John P. Longshore, field office director of ICE-ERO in Denver. "ICE continues that law enforcement process by working with the U.S. Attorney's Office to ensure that re-entry laws are strictly enforced." Longshore oversees the states of Colorado and Wyoming.
Arias-Rodriguez has five separate prior criminal convictions, including:
- a 1995 conviction in Superior Court in San Francisco, Calif. for possession of schedule II controlled substance with intent to distribute;
- a 1998 conviction in U.S. District Court in Arizona for illegal re-entry after deportation subsequent to an aggravated felony;
- a 2001 conviction in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California for illegal re-entry;
- a 2003 conviction in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California for illegal re-entry;
- and a 2005 conviction in the Southern District of California for illegal re-entry.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Brown, District of Colorado, prosecuted this case.