Judge mulls high sentence for criminal who entered U.S. illegally four times
A Mexican national who has illegally entered the U.S. four times, has used as many as 20 aliases and has been convicted of 20 crimes over the years is set to be sentenced Thursday.
Victor Santos-Ochoa, 45, pleaded guilty in federal court in Richmond on Feb. 14 to illegal reentry and will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, who gave notice that he is considering a prison term above the federal guideline range of roughly three to four years.
He will be deported yet again after completing his prison term.
It is not known when Santos-Ochoa first entered the U.S., according to court records. But the U.S. attorney’s office said in a filing that between 1992 and 2007, he was convicted of 18 misdemeanors in California, Georgia and Virginia and spent eight of those 25 years in state and federal prisons.
He was deported, apparently in 2007, and then reentered the U.S., showing up in Chesterfield County, where in 2008 he was convicted of malicious wounding. Deported again, he was caught re-entering the U.S. in Arizona in 2010, sentenced to 57 months and deported again.
He returned to Chesterfield, where he was convicted of possession of marijuana in 2016. Deported again, he returned and was most recently arrested in Chesterfield in September for assault and battery of a family member and another drug charge.
He has been in federal custody on the current immigration violation since Jan. 10.
In a sentencing memorandum, S. David Schiller, an assistant U.S. attorney, is asking Hudson to impose a term at the high end of the guideline range or a term of roughly five years, as had been previously imposed in Arizona.
“Multiple illegal immigration violations, coupled with dangerous criminal violations while in this country illegally, makes the present violation very serious,” wrote Schiller in his memorandum.
Santos-Ochoa’s lawyer, Nia Ayanna Vidal, is asking Hudson to impose a term within the guideline range.
“Mr. Santos-Ochoa is now 45 years of age. While his record of convictions began at age 20 in 1993, most of his criminal history consists of misdemeanor convictions,” she wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
Vidal wrote that the government exaggerated his use of approximately 20 aliases since seven listed names are variations of his birth name and one is “John Doe.”
On May 3, Hudson filed notice that he was contemplating a sentence higher than called for by federal sentencing guidelines.
“This potential variance and/or departure is based on the defendant’s criminal history, the need to promote respect for the law, and the need to provide adequate deterrence to criminal conduct,” the judge wrote.