Guatemalan Man Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Return After Removal

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Gulfport, Miss. – A Guatemalan national pleaded guilty to the federal felony offense of unlawful return of an alien after deportation or removal, announced U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca, Chief Patrol Agent Jason E. Schneider of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector, and Special Agent in Charge David Denton of Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans.

According to court documents, Jorge Osvani Diaz-Mendez, 21, of Guatemala, was arrested on September 12, 2021, on Interstate 10 in Jackson County.  A U.S. Border Patrol Agent, who also is a member of the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team, conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle which had a total of 11 occupants, all of whom were illegal aliens to the United States.  Homeland Security Investigations agents responded, and the driver of the vehicle is being separately prosecuted for illegal alien smuggling.

A passenger in the vehicle was identified as Jorge Osvani Diaz-Mendez, a citizen and national of Guatemala with no legal right to enter or remain in the United States.  At the Gulfport Border Station, Diaz-Mendez’s fingerprints were electronically scanned into Homeland Security databases and were automatically matched by computer to his fingerprints in his prior immigration records.  Diaz-Mendez’s identity was positively confirmed, and record checks revealed that he had been lawfully removed from the United States in 2019 and that he had not received consent or permission to apply for readmission or to reenter the United States. 

The case was investigated by the U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department. 

Diaz-Mendez is scheduled to be sentenced on May 20, 2022, at 9:30 a.m.  He faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  After completing any sentence of incarceration, he also is subject to Department of Homeland Security proceedings to remove him from the United States.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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The case was investigated by the U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case.