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Convicted felon among illegals caught crossing border

ALBANY A Netherlands man was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison following an attempt to enter the United States following removal by authorities. Edwin Cathalina, 33, formerly of Miami, Florida, was sentenced in federal court Oct. 9 by Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy for a July 25, 2006 incident in which Cathalina was encountered and arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers as he tried to enter the U.S. from Canada at the Cannon Corners Port of Entry. Cathalina, a citizen of the Netherlands, was physically removed from the U.S. to the Netherlands Sept. 2, 1998 following his 1996 conviction for attempted first-degree murder, a felony, in Miami, Fla. He was removed a second time to Aruba Dec. 16, 2005. Cathalina will face three years of supervision following his release in 2010. The matter was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Champlain. Willeys Jose Ramos Yepez, 25, formerly of Cliffside Park, N.J., was sentenced Oct. 9 by Judge McAvoy to 24 months and one day in federal prison, to be followed by supervised release for one year. Yepez was convicted of making a false claim of United States citizenship and aggravated identity theft after pleading guilty to the charges June 12. According to a U.S. Department of Justice report, Yepez, a citizen of Venezuela, attempted to enter the U.S. from Canada at the Champlain Port of Entry March 25. Yepez told the U.S. immigration inspector his name was Daniel Morales and he was a U.S. citizen born in Puerto Rico. Yepez knowingly presented a New Jersey identification card, New Jersey driver's license and a United States Social Security Card, in the name Daniel C. Morales, in support of his claim of identity and citizenship. The matter was also investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Champlain. Erwin B. Velasquez-Alvarez, 34, formerly of Richmond, Virginia, pleaded guilty Oct. 19 in federal court to the misdemeanor offense of illegal entry by an alien. Velasquez-Alvarez, a citizen of Guatemala, admitted he entered the United States Oct. 3 by walking across the international border between the U.S. and Canada at a remote location near Champlain, thereby avoiding immigration and customs inspection. Velasquez-Alvarez was sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge David R. Homer, to time served of 17 days, and was immediately remanded to the custody of the Department of Homeland Security for removal proceedings. The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Border Patrol, Champlain.

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