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Fugitive Operations Unit arrests Mexican man with felony conviction in San Juan

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Leonardo Pablo-Lopez, 43, a Mexican citizen who lived in San Juan. (Photo courtesy of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office)

The Harlingen Fugitive Operations Unit arrested a Mexican man with cocaine, drunken driving and burglary convictions Monday in San Juan.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Leonardo Pablo-Lopez, 43, a Mexican citizen who lived in San Juan.

The federal government deported Pablo-Lopez on April 1, 2011, through Laredo.

“The defendant claims to have illegally re-entered the United States on or about May 10, 2011, by wading the Rio Grande River at or near Hidalgo, Texas,” according to the federal criminal complaint against him.

Pablo-Lopez’s criminal record includes cocaine, drunken driving and burglary convictions in Hidalgo County.

In August 2010, a grand jury indicted Pablo-Lopez on the charge of burglary of habitation with intent to commit a sex offense, a first-degree felony.

Pablo-Lopez struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to burglary of habitation, a second-degree felony. State District Judge J. Jaime Garza sentenced him to two years in prison.

Pablo-Lopez is now charged with illegal re-entry.

Court records don’t list an attorney for Pablo-Lopez, who remains in federal custody and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of Texas, which includes the Rio Grande Valley, filed 338 new immigration cases in October, according to the latest data published by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. Only the Western District of Texas had more new immigration cases.

The McAllen Division, which covers Hidalgo County and Starr County, handles a significant portion of the workload.

All three district judges at the federal courthouse in McAllen handled more than 40 new immigration offenses in October, placing them among the top 10 nationwide.

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