LAFAYETTE, La. – A Mexican national illegally present in the United States, who was previously convicted in June 2000 on a felony drug charge in Maricopa County, Arizona, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison April 12 for illegally re-entering the United States after removal.
Felipe Escobar-Martinez, 41, of Veracruz, Mexico, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in September during a targeted enforcement operation in New Iberia.
U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell sentenced Escobar-Martinez to 18 months in federal prison April 12 after he admitted to illegally re-entering the United States three times in 1999, 2000 and 2005. Escobar-Martinez pleaded guilty Dec. 22 to one count of illegal re-entry of a removed alien, which is a federal felony.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dominic Rossetti prosecuted the case on behalf of U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Stephanie A. Finley.
In fiscal 2015, ICE removed or returned 235,413 individuals. Of this total, 165,935 were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States. The remaining 69,478 were apprehended in the interior of the United States, and the vast majority of these were convicted criminals who fell within ICE's civil immigration enforcement priorities. Ninety-eight percent of ICE's fiscal 2015 removals and returns fell into one or more of ICE's civil immigration enforcement priorities, with 86 percent falling in Priority 1 and 8 percent in Priority 2.