HARTFORD, Conn. — A Guatemalan national was sentenced Tuesday to 12 months in federal prison for illegally reentering the United States after being deported. The sentence is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Jose De La Cruz Ajqui, 27, a citizen of Guatemala last residing in Willimantic, was identified by ICE's Secure Communities program despite his use of a false identity after being arrested by Willimantic police. Once removability was established ERO officers lodged a detainer May 7, 2013.
According to court documents and statements made in court, De La Cruz Ajqui entered the U.S. illegally in 2005 and settled in Willimantic. In September 2007, he was charged and subsequently convicted in Connecticut state court of sexual assault of a minor in the second degree. De La Cruz Ajqui received a sentence of five years of incarceration, suspended after nine months, and 10 years of probation. He was also required to register as a sex offender for a period of 10 years.
De La Cruz Ajqui was deported to Guatemala in May 2009. By his own admission, he illegally reentered the U.S. less than two months later and returned to Willimantic.
On Oct. 7, 2011, De La Cruz Ajqui was arrested by the Connecticut State Police in Woodstock for evading responsibility, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and illegally operating a motor vehicle. He also was found in possession of marijuana. However, De La Cruz Ajqui provided a false identity at the time of this arrest. His illegal presence in the country was not detected until May 7, 2013, when he was arrested by the Willimantic Police Department for failing to appear on the charges and his true identity was determined through the use of ICE's Secure Communities program.
On March 25, 2014, De La Cruz Ajqui pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of illegal re-entry of a removed alien, and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 12 months imprisonment.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Slater.