Twice-deported Mexican sentenced to 80 months in prison

Matthew Lane • Aug 25, 2007 at 12:00 AM

GREENEVILLE — A Mexican man who has been deported from the United States twice in the last 13 years received an 80-month federal prison sentence earlier this week for unlawfully being in the country.

Ricardo Sanchez-Lopez, 47, received an 80-month prison sentence and three years of supervised release Monday in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. In addition, U.S. District Judge J. Ronnie Greer recommended that Sanchez-Lopez receive 500 hours of intense drug abuse treatment while incarcerated.

According to the prosecution Sanchez-Lopez, who was living in Johnson City at the time, was arrested in Hawkins County earlier this year on an aggravated assault charge. After local law enforcement sent his fingerprints off to be checked, information came back about Sanchez-Lopez being in the country illegally.

The matter was then transferred to federal court, where a grand jury in February charged him with knowingly and unlawfully being found within the United States.

The sentencing memorandum filed by the prosecution states Sanchez-Lopez has persistently engaged in criminal behavior during his entire adult life and since his illegal entry into the United States. In addition, it said Sanchez-Lopez has repeatedly re-entered he United States illegally and continued his criminal activity.

Court records state Sanchez-Lopez never entered the United States legally; that on April 28, 1994, he was deported at Laredo, Texas; and he was deported again on May 1, 1997.

Sanchez-Lopez had charges out of Sullivan County and Scott County, most of which were misdemeanor charges. Greer said in open court that many of Sanchez-Lopez’s prior offenses involved alcohol abuse, which was a great concern to the court.

The sentencing memorandum states Sanchez-Lopez has been convicted of 12 charges involving alcohol abuse and four convictions for crimes involving assaultive behavior.

A federal prosecutor said the reason why Sanchez-Lopez was able to avoid deportation was because after a local sheriff’s office would arrest Sanchez-Lopez for public drunkenness he would give them an alias instead of his real name. By the time his fingerprints came back with his real identity, Sanchez-Lopez was already out of jail.

For misdemeanor charges, a federal prosecutor said local law enforcement would not have held Sanchez-Lopez until the fingerprint check returned. Over the years Sanchez-Lopez used six different aliases, court records state.

Sanchez-Lopez has asked to be assigned to a prison facility in Texas. The prosecution stated after Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducts a due process hearing, Sanchez-Lopez will be deported again.

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