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Woman arrested by ICE at Hidalgo County Courthouse pleads guilty to illegal re-entry

1 year 3 months 1 week ago Wednesday, April 22 2020 Apr 22, 2020 April 22, 2020 11:46 AM April 22, 2020 in News - Local

A woman arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Hidalgo County Courthouse in January pleaded guilty to illegal re-entry on Wednesday.

Erika Gonzalez Zuniga, 42, a Mexican citizen who lived in Edinburg, pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon. She admitted to illegally re-entering the United States after the federal government deported her in September 2014.

ICE routinely arrests people who illegally re-enter the United States. Gonzalez Zuniga’s arrest, however, attracted widespread attention because ICE arrested her at the Hidalgo County Courthouse on Jan. 30, when a judge sentenced her son to 20 years in prison.

ICE normally avoids making arrests at courthouses and other sensitive locations.

“Zuniga has multiple convictions for theft between 2003 and 2010,” according to a statement released by ICE after her arrest. “She was issued a final order of removal by a federal immigration judge on January 4, 2005, and has multiple illegal entries into the United States.”

A federal grand jury indicted Gonzalez Zuniga on Feb. 25.

She agreed to plead guilty. In exchange, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas agreed to recommend her offense level decrease by four points — which may lead to a lower prison sentence.

Gonzalez Zuniga is scheduled for sentencing on July 15.

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