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Border Patrol agents arrest Salvadoran sex offender near Hidalgo

Agents arrested Jose Salvador Villalta, 58, a citizen of El Salvador. (Photo courtesy of the California Department of Justice)

Border Patrol agents arrested a Salvadoran sex offender last month near Hidalgo.

Agents arrested Jose Salvador Villalta, 58, a citizen of El Salvador who lived in Burbank, California.

Villalta is a sex offender registered with the California Department of Justice. He was convicted of lewd or lascivious acts with a child younger than 14 years old, according to the California sex offender registry.

"The Defendant claims to have illegally entered the United States on December 18, 2017, near Hidalgo, Texas," according to the federal criminal complaint against him. "Record checks revealed the Defendant was formally Deported/Excluded from the United States on February 22, 2017, through Phoenix, Arizona."

Villalta is charged with illegal re-entry.

Court records don't list an attorney for Villalta, who remains in federal custody and couldn't be reached for comment.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of Texas, which includes the Rio Grande Valley, filed 338 new immigration cases in October, according to the latest data published by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. Only the Western District of Texas had more new immigration cases.

The McAllen Division, which covers Hidalgo County and Starr County, handles a significant portion of the workload.

All three district judges at the federal courthouse in McAllen handled more than 40 new immigration offenses in October, placing them among the top 10 nationwide.

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