Federal time for deported defendant in burglary

By Jefferson Robbins
World staff writer
Saturday, February 2, 2013

WENATCHEE — A man who pleaded guilty to burglary will do his time in federal prison, where he was already held for unlawfully reentering the United States.

Eliseo Contreras Sanchez, 39, was suspected of raping his ex-wife when he was arrested in Wenatchee in August 2010, but was ultimately charged with burglary with sexual motivation. The burglary charge was thrown out by a Chelan County judge, and the Chelan County prosecutor’s office appealed.

Meanwhile, Contreras pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of violating an order of protection granted to his wife. He was charged by federal prosecutors with reentering the country from his native Mexico in violation of a 2009 deportation order, and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Spokane in August 2011.

The Washington Court of Appeals ruled on the case in January 2012, saying Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges erred when he dismissed the burglary charge against Contreras. Bridges had found that Contreras’s ex-wife had allowed him to reside in the home despite the protective order — thus Contreras did not enter or remain in the home “unlawfully,” a standard for defining burglary.

The appellate court said the ex-wife’s permission did not negate the protective order, and reinstated the burglary charge. Chelan County prosecutors followed up and re-filed the charge while Contreras was serving out his 28-month federal sentence in Atwater, Calif.

U.S. marshals arranged to return him to Chelan County custody in November, and on Dec. 5 he pleaded guilty to a burglary charge amended to drop the sexual motivation enhancement. Judge Lesley Allan sentenced him to 13 months, running concurrent with the federal sentence, and he was returned to Atwater.

Jefferson Robbins: 664-7123