August 8, 2008

Feds indict local man on immigration charge

By ASHLEY TOMPKINS - Tribune City Editor
Thursday, August 7, 2008 11:11 AM CDT

Federal grand jurors on Wednesday returned an indictment against a Mount Pleasant man on charges of being in the United States illegally after having been removed in November of 1999.

Lucio Ramirez, 34, is currently in the custody of the U.S Marshals.

A complaint filed with the United States District Court in Texarkana shows Ramirez was found in Titus County after having been removed from the United States nearly nine years ago.

Last month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators received information that Ramirez, who also goes by the alias Juan M. Ortiz, was residing in Mount Pleasant illegally. After conducting a follow-up investigation, which included record checks on vehicle registration and a Texas Drivers License, agents found a prior immigration removal.

On July 15, agents encountered Ramirez in the 1000 block of Gibson Street in Mount Pleasant. During a field interview, Ramirez identified himself as Lucio Ramirez and admitted to ICE special agents that he did not possess valid immigration documents, according to an affidavit filed in the federal district court.

Ramirez was taken into custody and voluntarily spoke with ICE agents without legal counsel present, according to court documents. During that interview, Ramirez admitted to ICE agents that he had previously been removed from the United States, specifically in November of 1999 in Dallas.

He said he illegally re-entered the United States that same month, according to the affidavit signed by a senior ICE special agent.

ICE agents confirmed that Ramirez had an alien registration file assigned to him after being previously removed from the United States. According to that file, cited in the affidavit, on or about Nov. 1, 1999, Ramirez was encountered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Dallas at the DFW Airport, where he applied for admission into the United States after an inbound flight from Acapulco, Mexico and presented a California birth certificate to inspectors. He confirmed that he was not a U.S. citizen during a further examination and was removed from the United States.

According to court documents, information contained in Ramirez's alien registration file appears to match the signature of Ramirez taken during his encounter on July 15.

Ramirez was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal during an initial appearance on July 16.

An arraignment hearing is set for Aug. 14 in Texarkana.

If convicted, he could receive imprisonment of not less than two years and a fine of not more than $250,000. The Bureau of ICE is investigating this case. Assistant United States Attorney Alan Jackson is prosecuting the case.

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