HARD CASE: Woman Seeking Asylum After Husband Killed in Colombia After Fentanyl Plea Gets 15 Months
More details and responses here, below the fold / paywall line
SDNY EXCLUSIVE, Sept 14 - In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on November 28, 2022 a detention or bond proceeding was held by Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron on woman illegally in the US from Colombia, where her husband was killed by a gang called Los Esperantos, the SDNY prosecutor said.
Inner City Press was there, the only media in the Mag Court.
The defendant Ms. Valencia, according to the Assistant US Attorney, had been apprehended by ICE in Arizona for illegal entry.
The Federal Defender said she had applied for asylum, as her husband was killed by a gang; she has a sister living in Allentown, Pennsylvania and working at FedEx who can vouch for her.
But when Judge Aaron took a break in the Magistrates Court robing room, the prosecutors says he learned that if ordered free on bond, ICE would detain Ms. Valencia.
Accordingly, the Federal Defender withdrew the application for release on bond - but weeks later, appealed. Inner City Press was again there.
District Judge John P. Cronan upheld her detention, citing death figures for fentanyl and sales in October 2022 with payments of $2500 and $5000.
On April 12, 2023, Judge Cronan held another proceeding with Yuli Valencia Perez, who it seems will file no motions, and her co-defendant. The AUSA said they'd found they need large hard drives to put the discovery on. The discovery, he said, is largely pole camera video.
She pleaded guilty on June 14, to a guideline of 46 to 57 months. She has already served nine months, and on August 31 sought a time served sentence. Her lawyer wrote that on September 9, 2020 "her husband, Fanhor Ocoro Aragon was murdered by a cartel after a dispute over his pension." The submission includes color photographs with flowers and dolls.
On September 8, the US Attorney's Office asked for a sentence of 37 to 46 months
On September 14 Inner City Press went to the sentencing. While Judge Cronan took a break to deliberate, the sound of a child's laughter played on a smart phone. Judge Cronan returned to praise the defendant for good works in the MDC, including the chapel, but cite a need for general deterrence.
Judge Cronan imposed a sentence of 15 months, 9 or 10 months of which appear to have already been served. After "adjourned" came "gracias."
More courtroom detail and reaction below the fold / paywall line here
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