San Juan, Puerto Rico - An alien from the Dominican Republic appeared later yesterday before U.S. District Court Magistrate Camille Velez-Rive, facing charges of re-entering the United States after being previously deported for the commission of an aggravated felony.
Santiago Castillo-Rojas, claimed to be Bernardino Almonte-Taveras, when he presented himself for inspection of US Customs and Border Protection officers before boarding a Jet Blue Airline flight Tuesday, bound to the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Mr. Castillo-Rojas provided an expired Dominican Republic passport and an employment authorization card, issued to "Bernardino Almonte-Taveras," claiming to be the rightful bearer of the documents.
CBP officers referred the passenger to closer inspection, where after a fingerprint examination revealed a prior criminal and immigration record.
The defendant was arrested in July 1995 and convicted in May 1996 for Distribution of Class B Cocaine and Conspiracy to Violate Control Substance Act at the Lynn District Court, in Massachusetts.
In 1996 an immigration judge ordered his deportation as an aggravated felon, which barred his return to the United States.
CBP enforcement officers presented the case to the Immigration Unit of the United States Attorney's Office, who accepted the cases for prosecution. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell E. Booker III will prosecute the case.
If convicted the defendants face a fine or a sentence not more than 20 years or both.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.