TAMPA, Fla. – A married minister couple, both with felony convictions, were indicted in federal court Tuesday with illegal re-entry into the U.S. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), with assistance from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
“This case illustrates ICE’s priorities on the arrest and removal of national security and public safety threats, as has been stated repeatedly by our leadership,” said Marc J. Moore, Marc J. Moore, field office director for the Miami Field Office of ERO.
Anner Javier Maldonado-Reyes, 39, of Largo, and Maria Guadalupe Maldonado, 38, of Largo, are both citizens of Honduras. According to the indictments, Anner Maldonado-Reyes, who has operated under several aliases over the years, including “Jose Martinez-Reyes,” “Juan Martinez,” and “Pedro Vargas-Monteramos,” has previously been removed from the U.S. on at least two occasions: February 1999 and February 2008. His February 1999 removal came after a conviction in Los Angeles County, California, for possession of cocaine base for sale.
Maria Guadalupe Maldonado, who also has had several aliases over the years, including “Stephanie Sanchez,” was removed from the U.S. in October 1996 following a conviction in Los Angeles County, California, for transportation/sale of a controlled substance.
These individuals do not have legal status in the U.S. and have not received permission from the attorney general or the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to reapply for admission. Government records indicate that Anner and Maria Maldonado are the founders of, and employed as ministers in, the church Ministerio Internacional Jesucristo Es Mi Refugio.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Murray, with the office of Acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow, Middle District Florida.
Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE.gov)