(1:10 PM) Native Of Mexico Charged With Illegal Reentry

A native of Mexico has been charged following a safety check earlier this month in Cattaraugus County.

U.S. Attorney James Kennedy Jr. announced Tuesday that Gerino Barrera-Tapia, 37, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with illegal reentry after deportation. The charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Moellering, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on Sept. 12, a Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s deputy encountered Barrera-Tapia during a vehicle safety check. U.S. Border Patrol was contacted to assist in identifying Barrera-Tapia.

During questioning, Barrera-Tapia stated that he was a citizen of Mexico and was illegally present in the United States. He was taken into custody.

Subsequent investigation determined that Barrera-Tapia was a native and citizen of Mexico. A records check determined that he was removed from the country in February 2008. Barrera-Tapia made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and was detained.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb, and U.S. Border Patrol, under the direction of Patrol Agent-in-Charge Steven Oldman.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the fact that Barrera-Tapia has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.