A deadly crash on a Colorado highway last week led authorities to discover that the driver responsible for the accident is an illegal alien with a long history of removal from the United States, according to officials. Ignacio Cruz-Mendoza, a 47-year-old from Mexico, is facing reckless driving and homicide-related charges for the June 11 crash on Hwy 285 near Conifer. Mendoza lost control of the semi carrying steep pipe, causing it to roll onto its side and spill into five other vehicles, killing one person and injuring another. In addition to this, hundreds of drivers were stranded on the closed road for over twelve hours.

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Mendoza was arrested and booked into the Jefferson County Jail, where he remains. Officials report that it was discovered he has a long history of removal from the United States, stretching back over 20 years. ICE confirmed that Cruz-Mendoza first caught their attention in April 2002 when he was arrested in Oregon on local charges. He was ordered by an immigration judge to be removed from the US back to Mexico on May 29, 2002. Since then, he has been removed from the country or returned to Mexico on a voluntary basis 16 times, according to ICE officials.

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ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Denver is now investigating Mendoza’s case, having lodged a detainer to be notified of his potential release. While justice is being served, Mendoza remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on July 30.

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