Guatemalan man pleads guilty to illegal reentry

From the U.S. Attorney's Office

FLORENCE, SC United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Esvin Ariel Merida-Morales, age 26, of Myrtle Beach, SC, pled guilty in federal court in Florence, SC, to illegal reentry, a violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1326(a)(2).

United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten of Florence, SC accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Merida-Morales was deported in April 2008, July 2008, and July 2010.  On August 14, 2011, Merida-Morales was found at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center after being arrested for drinking alcohol in a public conveyance. Merida-Morales is a citizen of Guatemala and had not received permission to reenter the United States after his previous deportation.

Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Merida-Morales can receive is a fine of $250,000.00 and/or imprisonment for 2 years, plus a special assessment of $100.00.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) agents.  Assistant United States Attorney William E. Day, II of the Florence office handled the case.