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Man sentenced to federal prison in drug case was previously deported after Hall traffic charges
Marcos Jimenez Benitez
Marcos Jimenez Benitez

A Gainesville man sentenced to 3 ½ years in federal prison was previously deported after traffic offenses in Hall County seven years ago, according to court documents.

Marcos Jimenez-Benitez, 38, was sentenced Jan. 12 after pleading guilty to intent to distribute at least 50 grams of methamphetamine.

U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story granted Jimenez-Benitez credit for time served since April 5, 2021. 

According to court documents, a confidential informant identified Jimenez-Benitez in February 2021 as someone in the country illegally and selling meth at his residence.

Law enforcement set up three drug deals between March and April of increasing amounts, starting with 3 grams and escalating to almost a kilogram, according to the indictment and sentencing memorandum.

Jimenez-Benitez was arrested after the third deal, according to the sentencing memo.

Jimenez-Benitez admitted in an interview before he was sentenced that he started using cocaine roughly 16 years ago, which turned into a meth habit, defense attorney Richard Holcomb wrote in the sentencing memo.

“In short, Mr. Jimenez is a neophyte dealer with a drug addiction and no prior arrests or convictions for drug sales,” Holcomb wrote.

Holcomb wrote that Jimenez-Benitez grew up in a rural town in Michoacan, Mexico. Food was sparse, and Jimenez-Benitez walked an hour each way to get to school, Holcomb wrote.

Holcomb said Jimenez-Benitez was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after being cited in 2014 in Hall County for driving without a license, following too close and no proof of insurance. He was deported through the Hidalgo Port of Entry in Texas, which is 16 hours by car from his hometown, Holcomb said. Holcomb did not return a request for comment from The Times.

The Hall County traffic charges were later dismissed.

Following his prison sentence, Jimenez-Benitez will be on supervised release for five years.

In the plea agreement, Jimenez-Benitez’s plea meant that deportation was “presumptively mandatory,” though those matters are handled by a different court. 

He must report to ICE officials for deportation proceedings following his prison sentence.

Holcomb wrote that Jimenez-Benitez is in contact with his family members in Mexico and is “fortunate enough to have two siblings that enjoy the stability to assist him upon his return.”

Jimenez-Benitez is not married and has no children in the United States.