Gulfport, Miss. – Donai Villafuerte-Martinez, 28, an illegal alien from Guatemala, pled guilty yesterday before Senior U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., to the federal crime of Unlawful Reentry by an Alien after Removal, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Gregory K. Bovino, Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector.
Villafuerte-Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Guirola on January 3, 2019. He faces a potential maximum penalty of 2 years in prison, followed by 1 year of supervised release, a maximum $250,000 fine, and Department of Homeland Security removal proceedings after completion of any prison sentence.
On August 6, 2018, a South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team Agent, who also is a City of Gautier Police Officer, stopped a 2015 Toyota Corolla with a fraudulent Texas license paper tag along Interstate 10 East in Jackson County. Based on his training and experience as an interdiction agent, the officer believed he had interrupted an alien smuggling event in progress and he called the U.S. Border Patrol. Two Border Patrol agents, including a fluent Spanish speaker, responded to the scene and determined that the driver had been a passenger in a vehicle that had been recently stopped by agents on I-10, although no arrests had been made.
Agents also noted multiple indicators that alien smuggling was taking place. Ultimately, the driver was arrested for transporting illegal aliens. His five passengers, including Villafuerte-Martinez, were arrested for being illegally present in the United States, and all were transported to the Gulfport Border Patrol Station for processing. At the Border Patrol Station, two of the five illegal alien passengers, including Villafuerte-Martinez, were identified as having been lawfully removed from the United States.
Agents determined that Villafuerte-Martinez was born in Guatemala in 1990, is a citizen of Guatemala, and is an illegal alien who had been lawfully removed from the United States in 2017. Finally, agents determined that Villafuerte-Martinez had not received permission to reenter the United States when he illegally returned in 2018.
U.S. Attorney Hurst praised the coordinated work of the United States Border Patrol, the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team and the City of Gautier Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case.