02/18/2006

Drug trafficker who had fingertips removed sentenced to Wash. prison

The Associated Press

YAKIMA, Wash.- A man who had his fingertips surgically removed to avoid being identified has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of drug trafficking.

Federal prosecutors said Jesus Jimenez-Mejia, 29, was deported to Mexico in 1996 and illegally returned to the United States after having his fingertips surgically altered to make a fingerprint comparison impossible.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bud Ellis said Jimenez-Mejia had his fingertips replaced with fingertips from another human being. He said authorities do not know where the replacement fingertips came from.

He was already in custody on immigration charges in May when authorities launched a series of raids that resulted in more than 30 arrests on drug and immigration charges.

In September, Jimenez-Mejia pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

He was sentenced to 10 years in jail this week, and will be deported after he gets out of prison, officials said.

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