Aiken man indicted on immigration violations

Garduno-Rivera
Garduno-Rivera

A federal grand jury indicted an Aiken man and Mexican national for immigration violations, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Abizahi Garduno-Rivera, 34, was charged with illegal re-entry after being convicted of an aggravated felony and deported, and was indicted this week, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles. The case was being investigated by agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney William Day II of the Columbia office for prosecution.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office could not release details about the aggravated felony for which Garduno-Rivera was deported.

“These cases, as a general matter, are resolved within the Speedy Trial Act,” she said.

Garduno-Rivera was arrested by the Aiken County Sheriff's Office in September 2013 and charged with trafficking methamphetamine – second offense, three counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime and possession of a controlled substance. A hold was also placed on him for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Garduno-Rivera was released to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Jan. 22 on a percent bond, a jail official said on Thursday.

A spokesman for the Sheriff's Office said details on the charges for which Garduno-Rivera was detained were limited because it is still an ongoing narcotics investigation.

An incident report regarding a narcotics investigation that officials said Garduno-Rivera was involved in stated a man named Daniel Garduno, 26, was pulled over in Beech Island on Sept. 4, 2013.

Deputies pulled over a vehicle for speeding on Beech Island Avenue in Beech Island, according to the report. Officers smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, and saw an open blunt wrapper on the backseat.

The driver, identified as Daniel Garduno, provided officers with a valid Georgia driver's license and admitted to having some marijuana in the console, the report stated. During a search of the vehicle, officers found several partially smoked marijuana cigars.

Daniel Garduno was arrested the same day and charged with trafficking methamphetamine; however, the report did not contain Abizahi Garduno-Rivera's name or indicate a relationship to Daniel Garduno.

Another search by K-9 and narcotics units was conducted the same night at a home on Corley Drive in North Augusta, according to the report. During that search, a drug dog entered a vehicle parked outside and placed his nose on several items as a positive alert.

Officers then entered the home with the K-9 unit and walked from one end of the house to the other, the report stated. The dog alerted on a trash can in the kitchen area and showed “heavy interest” to a cluttered area near the door leading from a bedroom to the master bathroom. He turned in circles sniffing the clutter on both sides of the doorway, which included a tall chest and a small end table. He also provided a positive alert by sitting near the doorway to the bathroom.

“(Reporting officer) was advised that subsequent searches, by investigators, to all alerted areas resulted in the location of narcotics and/or associated paraphernalia,” the report stated.

Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.

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