MEDFORD, Ore. - A "habitual border violator" and career criminal who lived in Bend and was apprehended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Enforcement and Removal Operations was sentenced Tuesday to 7 1/4 years in federal prison for illegal re-entry after deportation, officials said.
Sergio Ramos-Lopez, 46, a Mexican national who most recently lived in the Bend area, pleaded guilty to the charge last September.
According to court documents, Ramos-Lopez is an illegal alien who has been deported seven times since 1988. Prosecutors say that throughout his time in the U.S,. Ramos-Lopez has continually engaged in serious criminal conduct.
In asking for a lengthy sentence, prosecutors pointed to his history of drug trafficking and violent crimes, including a 14-year prison sentence in California for second degree robbery and his most recent run-in with Oregon authorities for trafficking methamphetamine.
"This defendant is a particularly egregious offender who has proven to be a danger to society," said Nathalie Asher, field office director for ERO Seattle, who oversees Oregon enforcement. "ICE places the highest priority on targeting criminal aliens who we know pose a threat to public safety."
Ramos-Lopez was identified by ERO officers working under its Criminal Alien Program last February while he was being held at the Deschutes County Jail in Bend on local charges of meth manufacturing, delivery and possession.
ICE regional spokesman Andrew Munoz in Seattle told NewsChannel 21 Ramos-Lopez had used "more than 10 aliases" and also multiple birth dates during his time in the U.S.
A jail officer in Bend said Ramos-Lopez used the name Eliseo Quezada and gave his age as 56 when he was booked into jail last Feb. 19 on the meth charges and a charge of giving false information to a police officer. The jail's records also list one other alias name, of Jose Luis Naranjo.
After an exhaustive review of his record revealed multiple deportations and a serious criminal history, ERO officers forwarded his case to federal prosecutors.
CAP identifies potentially deportable aliens incarcerated in jails and prisons throughout the country. Officers interview and review inmates' biographical information.
Although ERO initiates removal proceedings against criminal aliens through CAP, these individuals may remain in prison or jail to complete their criminal hearings or sentences.
Under CAP, ERO uses a risk-based approach to make determinations about the detention and arrest of criminal aliens, with priority given to cases involving individuals deemed to be a security or public safety threat.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon.
In the government's sentencing memorandum, U.S. Attorney for Oregon S. Amanda Marshall and Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron Chatfield had requested an 8 3/4-year prison term, noting that Ramos-Lopez had been deported seven times between 1988 and 2011 and "has continually engaged in serious criminal conduct" during his time in the U.S.
"Besides numerous felony convictions, (he) has already received lengthy prison sentences for drug trafficking and committing crimes of violence ranging back as far as 1991," they wrote, including robbery with a firearm and selling drugs in California.
While serving a 14-year prison term, he was convicted of possessing heroin and drug paraphernalia while in prison.
When paroled in 2003, he returned from Mexico to the Sacramento area, while still on parole and an illegal alien. The last time he illegally returned to the U.S., he "again engaged in drug trafficking ... this time in methamphetamine in Bend, Oregon."