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October 24, 2019Cincinnati, OH, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

Mexican man previously deported 9 times faces drug charges

CINCINNATI —A Mexican national was charged Oct. 23, in a three-count superseding indictment with intent to distribute cocaine and more than 400 grams of fentanyl, as well as illegally reentering the United States after having been previously deported.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office Director Rebecca Adducci, announced the superseding indictment returned yesterday.

Luis Tapia, 27, was arrested at a Cincinnati residence Sept. 13. At the time of his arrest, Tapia attempted to escape from a second-floor window onto the roof. He eventually retreated into the house and locked himself in a closet. Special Response Team agents then forcibly entered the home and apprehended Tapia. He has remained in custody since.

In August 2019, Tapia fled from law enforcement during a routine traffic stop. Before fleeing the stop, Tapia falsely identified himself as his brother, who is legitimately in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. Tapia is ineligible to remain in the country under DACA because of his previous felony convictions. Further investigation uncovered a photograph of Tapia illegally reentering the country at a border checkpoint.

According to ICE records, Tapia had been previously removed to Mexico nine times between 2012 and 2019. After each removal, he illegally reentered the United States. Tapia was most recently deported on April 25, 2018.

Reentry of a removed alien is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Possessing more than 400 grams of fentanyl with the intent to distribute carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, with a potential maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by ERO, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Cincinnati and Norwood police departments, as well as Special Assistant United States Attorney Kelly K. Rossi, who is prosecuting the case.

An indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt; all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.