Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Illegal Re-entry

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WESLACO – A man is facing 10 years in federal prison after illegally re-entering the country.

The U.S. sentencing guidelines, which serve as a manual for prosecutors, lists many crimes and shows the various levels of convictions.

Criminal defense attorney Carlos Garza explained the number of convictions makes a difference in the sentencing amount.

"For example, let’s say they raise you by four levels and that puts you at 10 to 16 months and you’re aggravated and so forth, and it's going to take you a maximum of 10. That's where the judge was and the maximum for ten is going to put you at a level 32,” said Garza.

According to court documents, Tomas Aquino-Pacheco pleaded guilty in June for illegal re-entry.

In a U.S. Department of Justice statement, it says Aquino has an extensive criminal history with drug offenses in 1999 and in 2012 and spent months in federal prison. He was then caught crossing illegally on April 2016 near Hidalgo.

Assistant U.S. Attorney in Charge Homero Ramirez said he does the intake of cases and makes final decisions on cases they accept.

"The more criminal history or a more serious crimes a person has, they're more like to receive a higher offense in the federal system,” he said.  

Garza said AG Jeff Sessions’ memorandum in May laid out the law. It reminds prosecutors to focus their priority on cases like Aquinos.

“They're letting people know if you're going to come back re-enter into the United States illegally again, you’re facing some stiff penalties. Especially, if you have been convicted of other crimes,” said Garza.

Aquino faces 10 years in federal prison.

He’s currently in federal custody, waiting to be assigned to a federal prison. After he does his time, he will face another deportation hearing.


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