Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hold the Phone! A judge locks up illegal alien drug pusher instead of deporting him

Before you jump up and down and say he should be deported - realize this - when illegal alien criminals ask to be deported - it means they will be free pending a deportation hearing for which they can never show up and it takes months before that hearing even occurs. In the mean time they are free. So the "deportation loophole" was closed by this judge who understands that it is a game illegal aliens play and this guy lost that game BIG time. Hooray for judges with common sense! We need more of them! Lock em up! On the other hand - it's costing taxpayers mucho bucks to house this scumbag who should not have even been here in the first place. I say we should start sending the bill for incarcerating and bringing them to justice to Jorge Boosh!

Marijuana peddler gets 18 months

Judge finds deportation isn't punishment enough

Isn't deportation punishment enough for a marijuana-peddling illegal immigrant?

Defense attorney Stephen Johnson posed that question at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan to decide the fate of 28-year-old Juan Lino-Gomez on Thursday.

Lino-Gomez has admitted conspiring to sell marijuana, peddling in just one transaction 100 pounds of the illegal plant. Although he had entered the country legally on a work visa, it had long expired when lead investigators Todd Lee of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Bruce Conkey of the Knoxville Police Department nabbed him last year.

Johnson argued that Varlan should just immediately free Lino-Gomez, who has spent 10 months in jail awaiting resolution of his case.

"Once he is out of custody there is an immigration hold on him, so he will go into immigration custody," Johnson said.

Johnson also contended that Lino-Gomez could spend several months, maybe even years, awaiting formal deportation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Winck balked at the notion that Lino-Gomez should get a break.

"He was able to make money in this country even though he was illegally here," Winck said. "He could have taken lawful steps to become legal."

Winck argued that it is hardly fair for the illegal immigrant to benefit from his status while his American co-conspirators pay the full price for their alleged crimes.

Varlan sided with Winck, ordering Lino-Gomez to serve an 18-month prison term.

This isn't the first time Lino-Gomez's status as an illegal immigrant has come into play in the case. Johnson spent months battling to free Lino-Gomez pending trial, arguing that his status as an illegal immigrant wasn't cause enough to keep him locked up. Johnson took that argument all the way to a federal appeals court, where he lost.

Lino-Gomez then pleaded guilty, striking a deal that offered him a penalty range far lower than what he could have faced.

Johnson told Varlan at Thursday's hearing that Lino-Gomez was a family man who encountered a rough financial situation, so he turned to pushing pot.

"Mr. Lino-Gomez and his family were under financial hardship, needing money for a hernia surgery for himself, needing money for an eye surgery for his youngest baby," Johnson said. "That's not an excuse for what he did. It does offer an explanation."

Winck found the tale a bit dubious.

"When Mr. Lino-Gomez was arrested, he had $5,497 on him, and he hadn't even been paid yet (for the drugs)," Winck said.

Lino-Gomez told Varlan that he made a mistake. "I'm paying the price for that mistake because I am living away from my family," he said.

Jamie Satterfield may be reached at 865-342-6308.


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