Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mexican National Sentenced for Illegal Entry and Felony Charges

A citizen of Mexico who had illegally reentered the United States on multiple prior occasions was sentenced Friday, March 9, in federal court in Lynchburg on charges related to another illegal reentry.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Bernardo Israel Enciso-Mejia, 30, a native and citizen of Mexico living in Buena Vista, Va., was sentenced to 77 months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in December 2011 to one count of illegal reentry into the United States by a previously deported alien. His most recent return followed a conviction for an aggravated felony.

Following his prison term, Enciso-Mejia will be removed to Mexico by ERO.

"This sentence should serve as a reminder that there are significant consequences for violating immigration law, especially for those with extensive criminal histories," said ERO Washington Field Office Director Enrique M. Lucero.

According to his guilty plea, Enciso-Mejia has previously been removed from the United States by ERO on four separate occasions, including once following an aggravated felony charge of aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm by an alien illegally in the United States.

He was most recently arrested in Buena Vista, Va. Aug. 16, 2011. At the time of his arrest, officers with ERO determined that Enciso-Mejia did not have the consent of the Attorney General of the United States or the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to reenter or to reapply for admission into the United States. ERO found no record of the defendant ever applying for permission to reenter the United States or other forms of relief since the time of his first removal in 2003.

"The Justice Department is committed to the strong, effective and humane enforcement of our immigration laws," said U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy, for the Western District of Virginia. "Mr. Enciso-Mejia has illegally reentered the United States on multiple occasions and for that he must be punished."

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Wright prosecuted the case for the United States.

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