Thrice Deported Illegal Alien Pleads Guilty in DEA Sting

AP Photo/Andres Leighton
AP Photo/Andres Leighton

A Mexican national who was deported three times pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from an undercover DEA sting.

On January 18, triple deportee Saul Bustos-Bustos, 38, and Irepan-Juanchi-Salgado, also from Mexico pleaded guilty to federal drug charges after a sting on November 28, 2017.

According to a recent release from the United States Department of Justice, Bustos-Bustos and Juanchi-Salgado pled guilty in January for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

According to court records, both defendants met with an undercover DEA Agent in Miami on November 28, 2017, with the intention of selling five kilograms of crystal methamphetamine for the agreed price of $14,500 per kilo. The deal and subsequent meeting were set up during an undercover phone call between the DEA agent and the brother of Irepan-Salgado who was identified as Luciano Salgado, a meth-dealer in Georgia and New York. Luciano Salgado negotiated the wholesale price with the undercover DEA agent and then directed him to complete the transaction with Irepan-Salgado.

While at the meeting location, the transaction was completed after both defendants transferred the drugs from their vehicle to the undercover officer’s. Both defendants were subsequently arrested.

According to the press release, Bustos-Bustos also pled guilty to illegal re-entry after being previously being deported at least three times. Records indicated that Bustos-Bustos was deported on April 13, July 6, and July 19, 2017.

Bustos-Bustos and Juanchi-Salgado face potential prison sentences of up to life imprisonment, to be followed by supervised release terms of at least five years on their respective narcotics convictions. Bustos-Bustos also faces a maximum term of three years imprisonment; to be followed by up to three years supervised release for his immigration violation. Bustos-Bustos is scheduled to be sentenced before United States District Judge K. Michael Moore on March 29, 2018. A sentencing date for Juanchi-Salgado has not been set.

The investigation and prosecutions were carried out by members of the South Florida High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force. The South Florida HIDTA, established in 1990, is made up of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that, cooperatively target the region’s drug-trafficking and money laundering organizations. The South Florida HIDTA is funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy which sponsors a variety of initiatives focused the nation’s illicit drug trafficking threats.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify the dates of Bustos-Bustos’ prior deportations.