Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Two plead guilty to immigration charges (The Times and Democrat)

Two plead guilty to immigration charges
T&D Staff Report | Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 6:00 am

Axol Sanchez-Ignacio, 53, and Alberto Mendez-Perez, 41, both of Mexico and Orangeburg, pleaded guilty Tuesday to being aliens who knowingly and illegally entered the United States, according to U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles.

U.S. District Judge Margaret B. Seymour accepted the pleas and will impose their sentences after she has reviewed pre-sentence reports from the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at their change of plea hearing established that on Feb. 24, Axol Sanchez-Ignacio and Alberto Mendez-Perez, along with two other men, were arrested at a residence on Halford Lane in Orangeburg County and charged with a state marijuana violation.

Officials alleged they seized more than 70 pounds of marijuana hidden in PVC tubes disguised as unassembled coat racks. The four men were charged with trafficking marijuana, but those charges have not yet been resolved, according to the Orangeburg County Courthouse's website.

The maximum penalty Axol Sanchez-Ignacio could receive on the immigration charge is six months imprisonment, along with a $5,000 fine. The maximum penalty Alberto Mendez-Perez could receive on the immigration charge is two years imprisonment with a $250,000 fine, since he was previously found guilty of the same charge in 2007 and deported.

The case was investigated by agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Homeland Security Investigations; the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.

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