Repeat federal felon and Mexican Mafia member handed significant sentence for illegally being in US | USAO-SDTX

LAREDO, Texas – A 47-year-old resident of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, has been ordered to federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

David Villarreal-Leal, identified as a member of the Mexican Mafia, pleaded guilty Feb. 5 for re-entering the United States after having been previously removed.

Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana ordered Villarreal-Leal to serve a total of 108 months in prison. Not a U.S. citizen, he will again be expected to face removal proceedings following his sentence. At the hearing, the court noted his multiple previous convictions and that he had attacked a rival gang member while waiting for one of his court hearings.

Authorities found Villarreal-Leal Nov. 27, 2019, in a ranch outside of Laredo after illegally crossing into the United States from Mexico.

Villarreal-Leal was removed from the country multiple times beginning Jan. 19, 2006. His most recent removal occurred Oct. 15, 2019, approximately one month prior to his current arrest and charge.

He is a federal felon – previously convicted in 2001 of conspiring to transport 494 pounds of marijuana and again in 2010 when Villarreal-Leal illegally re-entered the United States. His latest came in 2011 when he was found guilty of conspiring with others in a money laundering scheme involving $1.4 million in bulk cash drug proceeds being trafficked to the Zeta Drug Trafficking Organization in Mexico.

Villarreal-Leal has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Border Patrol conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Harrison is prosecuting the case.

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