An undocumented immigrant charged with drug smuggling, and who prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to keep in jail pending his trial, has fled, according to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
Gilberto Hernandez-Ordunez faced years in jail for allegedly smuggling 15 kilograms of cocaine to Milwaukee. In November, federal prosecutors at a hearing on the charges pushed for Hernandez-Ordunez, who is from Mexico, to remain in jail pending his trail. They argued that he was a flight risk.
U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin, however, felt that because Hernandez-Ordunez, 34, had no criminal history, had a job and strong family ties in Milwaukee, he would show up in court.
Duffin allowed the immigrant to be released on bond with no electronic monitoring.
But Hernandez-Ordunez was a no-show at his court hearing last week, and now there is a warrant for his arrest, the Journal Sentinel reported.
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Edward Hunt, Hernandez-Ordunez's attorney, said he had no comment Friday, according to the newspaper.
Hernandez-Ordunez and Alfredo Romo, 47, both were indicted in December on charges of possession with intent to deliver.
Romo had not been released and was at the court hearing, where he said he planned to enter a guilty plea, the newspaper said.
Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Hernandez-Ordunez two years ago.
The newspaper cites a federal criminal complaint as saying that Hernandez-Ordunez and Romo took part in a drug-dealing operation that was bringing dozens of kilograms of cocaine into Milwaukee.
The drugs were hidden inside elevator shaft parts and delivered by semitrailer trucks to a warehouse, the newspaper said.
Hernandez-Ordunez’s attorney, Hunt, pushed for his client to be released on bond, stressing that he had roots in Milwaukee.
"I respectfully disagree with the comment that he is a serious flight risk," Hunt said in court. "He has every reason to fight these charges."
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