PENSACOLA — A dozen people who were previously deported from the United States, including some found in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of illegally re-entering the country, according to a news release from Lawrence Keefe, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Keefe called the recent indictments "an unprecedented number of illegal re-entry cases charged in our district at a particular time during the past five years."
The indictments followed investigative work by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office and the Panama City Beach Police Department. Five assistant U.S. attorneys are prosecuting the cases, according to the news release.
Five of the people indicted were found in Okaloosa County. They were Juan Sopino-Sanchez, 41, of Guatemala; Javier Gonzalez-Valdivia, 56, of Mexico; Fransis Leonei Lima-Sanchez, 25, of Guatemala; Yony Javier Barraona Lopez, 25, of Honduras; and Jose Luis Ortiz-Maradiaga, 27, of Mexico.
All five allegedly re-entered the country illegally after being deported one or more times, the news release said.
Freddy David Chavez-Lopez, 31, of Guatemala, was found in DeFuniak Springs and Gabriel Villela, 30, of Mexico, was found in Milton.
Three people also were found in Panama City, one person was found in Panama City Beach and one person was found in Pensacola
The penalty for illegally re-entering the United States after deportation is a maximum of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Three of the people captured face enhanced maximum sentences because of their criminal histories.