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May 4, 2015New Orleans, LA, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

Louisiana criminal alien indicted on felony charge for illegally re-entering US

NEW ORLEANS – A Guatemalan man illegally present in the United States, who was previously removed from Louisiana in 2012 following a drunken driving conviction, was indicted on a federal felony charge Friday for illegally re-entering the country. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested the man during a targeted enforcement operation in Hammond April 16.

Sergio Tulo Vargas, 34, faces up to two years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of illegally re-entering the United States following his 2012 removal. Assistant U.S. Attorney Spiro G. Latsis is prosecuting the case on behalf of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Kenneth A. Polite.

“This case is an excellent example of ICE prioritizing its enforcement efforts to identify and detain convicted criminals and individuals who pose a serious threat to public safety,” said ERO New Orleans Field Office Director David Rivera.

In fiscal year 2014, ERO removed 315,943 individuals from the United States. In addition to convicted criminals, the agency's enforcement priorities include those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants — individuals who returned to the United States after being previously removed by ICE — and immigration fugitives. In fiscal year 2014, 98 percent of ICE removals met these priorities.