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Updated Mar 20, 2013 - 9:18 am

ICE: 68-year-old Bolivian was only ‘Level 1’ offender released in Arizona

PHOENIX — Homeland Security’s release of thousands of illegal immigrants included a 68-year-old Bolivian man who had lived legally in the country for 45 years, according to a news report.

There were 342 of the 2,000-plus detainees released in Arizona.

The Arizona Daily Star reported that the Bolivian national was among the group and had been granted U.S. permanent residency in 1963.

The man had lived legally in the country for 45 years, but was deported in 2008 because of convictions including five misdemeanors for drug possession, theft and possession of stolen property.

Three years ago the man tried to apply for re-admission through the Nogales Port of Entry and was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

More than half of the Arizona detainees were classified noncriminal. Level 1 offenders have been convicted of “major drug offenses and national security crimes, and violent crimes,” according to ICE documents.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is wary of there being a lone Level 1 threat.

“For them to tell us now, after all these partials truths — and we had to drag that out of them — I don’t believe them.”

The department recently acknowledged that the releases were because of budget concerns.


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