An illegal immigrant who was helping imprisoned members of MS-13 in Columbus, Ohio was sentenced to 10 months in prison last week.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio said Wednesday that Fabian Posadas-Mejia will receive a year of supervised release after his prison term and will be subject to deportation upon completing his sentence.
Authorities said they first encountered Posadas-Mejia nearly 25 years ago when he was ordered to be removed from the United States. He was then deported twice in 2014 and once in 2017, meaning he illegally reentered the country at least three times.
Following an August 2017 take-down of the MS-13 gang, investigators monitored the gang members’ phone calls and learned that multiple inmates were in frequent communication with Posadas-Mejia. Investigators later discovered that he was depositing money in the gang members’ jail accounts, helping them manage their personal property, and communicating with their families.
He was specifically communicating with “imprisoned members of the Columbus clique of MS-13,” authorities said in a statement.
Posadas-Mejia has a previous domestic violence conviction in addition to being removed from the United States three times and being “linked to the government’s ongoing prosecution of MS-13.” He is a citizen of El Salvador with no legal status in the United States.
Columbus police announced in 2017 that they arrested thirteen members of MS-13 during a sting operation in central Ohio and Indiana. Ten of them were charged with conspiracy to commit extortion through the use of threatened or actual force, and use violence or fear to intimidate their victims into paying money.
MS-13 was designated a “transnational criminal organization” by the United States government in 2012.
Columbus hasn’t formally declared itself a sanctuary city, but has enacted the sanctuary policy of directing police officers not to arrest illegal immigrants unless there is a warrant out for them. The Columbus City Council passed an ordinance that prohibits city employees from using funds or equipment to apprehend any person based on their suspected immigration status.
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