State firearm, drug charges turn to federal case on man accused of being illegal immigrant

By Maxine Bernstein
on April 28, 2017 at 4:47 PM, updated April 28, 2017 at 5:05 PM

An undocumented immigrant out on bail kept showing up to court in Portland to face state gun and drug charges until federal immigration agents ran his name and took him into custody on a deportation order.

The man's defense attorney described the case as "fairly extraordinary,'' noting his client, Jose Alfredo Bustos-Bustos, followed court orders to appear when necessary, despite the current national crackdown on illegal immigration.

"Only after leaving his third court appearance was he picked up by immigration officials,'' said Assistant Federal Public Defender Stephen Sady.

On Friday, a federal judge ordered Bustos-Bustos, 30, to remain in custody pending trial on new federal charges, including illegal alien in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie B. Beckerman found Bustos-Bustos a danger to the community based on the nature of the alleged offenses and a flight risk based partially on a pretrial officer's report that he previously faced a deportation order by U.S. immigration officials in Fresno, California.

Sady asked that Bustos-Bustos be released to the Northwest Re-entry Center while awaiting trial so he can have continued visitation with his children. Bustos-Bustos' wife is a U.S. citizen, as are his children, and he's trying to have his "status adjusted through his wife,'' Sady said.

Bustos-Bustos initially was arrested on state allegations Jan. 24 after a Gresham narcotics investigation. He was riding as a passenger in a white Dodge Avenger when police stopped it near Southeast Stark Street and 162nd Avenue. His wife was driving, police said.

Police found a bag containing 200 grams of methamphetamine in the car's glove box and $2,000 on Bustos-Bustos, state and federal court documents show. Two children, ages 2 and 4, were in the car, police say.

Officers executed a search warrant at Bustos-Bustos' apartment later that day and seized 1,166 grams of methamphetamine, and nine firearms, including six handguns, one shotgun and two rifles, according to the federal complaint. The guns were scattered throughout the apartment in plain view, according to Gresham Detective Jonathan Beal.

A fingerprint suspected to be from a child under age 4 was found on the AR-15 rifle, Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Sax said.

Officers also noticed a statute in the apartment of Mexican folk saint Jesus Malverde -- described by Beal in an affidavit as the "patron saint of drug traffickers.''

Court records in Multnomah County indicate Bustos-Bustos' children were taken into protective custody after his arrest.

He was arraigned in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Jan. 25, and the next day, posted 10 percent of his $110,000 bail and was released, two days after his arrest. He returned to Multnomah County Circuit Court on Feb. 2 and March 24 for separate appearances in his case.

On March 24, according to the federal complaint, Special Agent Shawn Mohr, a deportation officer with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, wrote a report that a computerized check on Bustos-Bustos revealed he faced a previous deportation order out of California. Bustos-Bustos, as a result, was transferred to a federal facility in Tacoma.

The federal complaint was issued April 24. Bustos-Bustos was taken back into custody by Gresham police on April 25 on the federal gun and drug charges. He remains at Multnomah County's Inverness Jail on a U.S. Marshal's hold.

His wife, Miriam Karina Avila, 25, is out of custody, facing possession and delivery of methamphetamine and cocaine allegations in Multnomah County Circuit Court stemming from the same January arrest with Bustos-Bustos.

Before Bustos-Bustos was returned to federal custody in Portland, Avila was granted permission to leave Oregon to travel to a detention center in Tacoma to visit her husband on weekends, according to court records.