United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announced today that United States District Judge Terry F. Moorer sentenced defendant Valeriano Cuevas-Mendoza, 35, an illegal alien from Mexico, to imprisonment for 57 months for unlawful entry into the United States by a deported alien. Cuevas-Mendoza faced up to 20 years imprisonment due to a prior conviction for an aggravated felony offense. As part of the sentence, the judge ordered that Cuevas-Mendoza undergo three years of supervised release after finishing his term of imprisonment, pay a $100 mandatory special assessment, and receive deportation consideration.
On November 26, 2019, a federal grand jury for the Southern District of Alabama charged Cuevas-Mendoza with one count of reentry of removed aliens in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a). On January 24, 2020, Cuevas-Mendoza pleaded guilty to the charge before the Court.
Cuevas-Mendoza admitted to the following facts as part of his guilty plea. On October 4, 2019, a Thomasville Police Department officer lawfully arrested Cuevas-Mendoza for burglary in the third degree in Clarke County, Alabama. (On December 5, 2019, the defendant pleaded guilty to the burglary offense in Clarke County Circuit Court in Grove Hill, Alabama.) On October 8, 2019, Cuevas-Mendoza’s fingerprints were enrolled into immigration and criminal biometric databases. The databases verified that Cuevas-Mendoza was a citizen and national of the Republic of Mexico and had an alien registration number. An immigration records search revealed that on May 17, 2011, an immigration judge in Atlanta, Georgia ordered Cuevas-Mendoza removed to Mexico. On June 21, 2011, Cuevas-Mendoza was physically removed from the United States and returned to Mexico. On October 31, 2011, Cuevas-Mendoza was apprehended by United States Border Patrol agents near Hebbronville, Texas, and he was subsequently charged with illegal reentry after deportation. On May 3, 2012, Cuevas-Mendoza was sentenced to 38 months imprisonment in United States District Court in Laredo, Texas for violating 8 U.S.C. § 1326 (reentry by a deported alien) in the Southern District of Texas. On October 9, 2014, Cuevas-Mendoza was physically removed from the United States and returned to Mexico. At the time of his arrest on October 4, 2019 in the Southern District of Alabama, Cuevas-Mendoza was an illegal alien who was unlawfully present in the United States, and he had not obtained permission of the Attorney General of the United States or the United States Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to reapply for admission into the United States.
The United States Customs and Border Protection investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Sinan Kalayoglu prosecuted the case.