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.
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.