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A Mexican national who was living in Jackson Heights was sentenced for attempting to reenter the country two times after he was deported, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Rogelio Mendez, 38, was sentenced to 57 months in prison for reentering the country by Judge Sandra Feuerstein. Prior to this sentencing, Mendez was serving time for a previous rape conviction in Suffolk County.

“Mendez repeatedly showed contempt for the rule of law by reentering the United States twice after he was first deported,” United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said on Oct. 31.  “The Department of Justice has made criminal immigration enforcement a priority, and today’s sentence should serve as a deterrent to others who would illegally return to the United States after having been deported.”

According to court filings, Mendez, a Mexican citizen, was initially deported in 2004 after serving a two-year prison sentence for possession of a loaded firearm. He first reentered the country illegally in 2005 and was deported again in March 2009, and ultimately reentered the United States illegally from Mexico in 2010.

Mendez later became employed at a restaurant in Southampton, NY. On Sept. 11 2016, Mendez raped a woman at a house that he shared with his coworkers.

In February 2017, Mendez pleaded guilty to third-degree rape and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Judge Feuerstein indicated that Mendez’s newest sentence will run consecutively with his 57 month imprisonment.

“Mendez had a past criminal history in the U.S. and was removed twice, but then decided to illegally reenter the country only to commit a more heinous crime,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez.  “This man is already incarcerated for his recent rape conviction, and he will now serve a lot more time behind bars for his felony reentry offense.”

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