Visalia felon arrested trying to sneak across the Arizona border

Mexican national convicted on weapons charges in 2005 was caught trekking through the desert


TUCSON, ARIZ. – A convicted Visalia gang member was arrested at the border trying to re-enter the country illegally last week.

On March 5, Willcox Station Border Patrol agents arrested a Mexican man near Saint David on Sunday evening and learned through record checks that he had multiple felony convictions in California.

Agents, along with Cochise County Sheriff’s Office deputies participating in Operation Stonegarden, responded to sensor activity east of Saint David. Deputies discovered an abandoned Chevy Blazer and notified nearby agents who tracked footprints into the desert. Agents followed foot sign and apprehended four Mexican nationals who had entered the U.S. illegally.

While processing the suspects, agents identified one man as 30-year-old Mauricio Lemus-Ibarra, who was arrested and convicted in Visalia in 2015 for assault on a person with a semi-automatic weapon. He was sentenced to three years for his crime and received an additional five years for his participation in a street gang.

Lemus will be processed for criminal immigration violations and could face additional prosecution for re-entering the U.S. as a previously-deported felon. The remaining three Mexican nationals will be processed for immigration violations in accordance with Tucson Sector guidelines.

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