Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies were about to let go the driver of a car pulled over for speeding on Big Pine Key with a written warning, but the U.S. Border Patrol had other plans.
Now, the driver and two of his passengers are facing prison for being in the country illegally after having previously been deported.
A deputy stopped Francisco Napoleon Gutierrez-Matute, 44, for speeding shortly after midnight Jan. 22 and, according to dispatch records, had trouble communicating with him or his passengers because they didn’t speak English, and the deputy and his backup colleague didn’t speak Spanish.
Deputies Shawn Steele and Evan Calhoun called on the radio for any other officers in the area who speak Spanish. Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Highway Patrol responded that they had no one in the area available to help out.
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“If we don’t have anyone in the area and can’t get a return, just going to let him go with a warning,” one of the deputies radioed to dispatch, according to records.
Unfortunately for Gutierrez-Matute and his passengers, Isidro Jimenez-Guido, 64, and Jose Alexander Bustamante-Aguero, 42, some Spanish-speaking officers did arrive — agents with the U.S. Border Patrol.
The three men were arrested and taken to the Marathon Border Patrol station because, according to federal court documents, each was in the country illegally and had been previously ordered to leave.
The men’s countries of origin are not mentioned in the arrest affidavit or charging document. Their attorney, Stewart Glenn Abrams, with the Federal Public Defender’s Office, could not be reached for comment.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged the men with one count each of illegally re-entering the country after having been removed on Feb 7. They face a maximum two years in federal prison if convicted.
Bustamante-Aguero was deported Feb. 9, 2007; Jimenez-Guido was ordered removed Dec. 17, 2007; and Gutierrez-Matute was deported Jan. 30, 2008, according to the charging document.
David Goodhue: 305-440-3204