Calgary Herald

Mexican deported for a third time

- Daryl Slade

Three strikes and Leopoldo Rojo Beltran will soon be on his way out of Canada a third time for entering the country illegally.

The Mexican national was sentenced to five months in jail on Thursday after pleading guilty to returning to Canada without authorizat­ion, after twice previously being deported.

No record could be found of anybody ever having been deported from Canada for a third time, although the charge of illegally returning to Canada has only been prosecuted for a couple of years. One offender in Calgary last month was ordered deported a second time and sentenced to three months in jail. Another case is pending for next Tuesday.

Canada Border Services Agency could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Beltran’s lawyer Harry Van Harten, who argued for a conditiona­l discharge so he could avoid a criminal record, told court his client, 35, who married a Canadian citizen and fathered two children after his second deportatio­n in 2003, will voluntaril­y return to his homeland after he serves his time.

His wife will then apply for entry to Canada legally, Van Harten added, in a bid to reunite the family on compassion­ate grounds.

Provincial court Judge Catherine Skene rejected Beltran’s pitch for a discharge, instead going with Crown prosecutor Scott Couper’s argument for five months jail time.

Skene, calling Beltran’s actions “planned, deliberate and ongoing,” said it is his own undoing that he is in such a predicamen­t.

“One of the facts that cause the court concern is that the offender, after entering his guilty plea, now asks the court to put him in the position he would have been in had he lawfully applied to enter Canada after his second deportatio­n,” Skene said.

“The offence is a problemati­c one in that it is difficult to detect and quantify the cost to the taxpayers. I was advised by counsel that it is prevalent. The offender entered Canada unauthoriz­ed for his own personal gain and to avoid the proper and lawful mechanisms in place for applicatio­n.”

Court heard that Beltran was one of several people arrested in Calgary on Dec. 3, 2008, as part of a sweep of arrests resulting from a year-long Calgary Police Service drug investigat­ion dubbed High Noon.

Beltran’s arrest was then reported to Canada Border Services Agency and he was charged with possession of the proceeds of crime. The Crown, however, stayed the proceeding­s related to the charge on June 9, 2009.

When arrested, he had initially given a false birth date, later proven to be wrong.

The illegal entry ordeal began on Aug. 12, 1999, when the man was first arrested illegally at the U.S. border near Port Douglas, B.C.

He then entered a claim for refugee protection four days later, but failed to show up for his hearing on Nov. 23, 1999.

He was finally arrested and deported on Sept. 4, 2000.

Beltran was again intercepte­d by border officers in Vancouver on Feb. 21, 2001, and he was finally tossed out of the country on Nov. 6, 2003. But he returned again.

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