A Mexican citizen will be deported following a jail sentence after pleading guilty to a felony DUI in August that he was originally charged for in 2016. Leoncio Ismael Cruz-Gamez, 40, previously living in Hailey, will be deported to Mexico after he serves 102 days in the Blaine County jail, where he has been detained since a separate DUI arrest in April.
Prosecutor Matt Fredback said at a sentencing hearing Monday that Cruz-Gamez was pulled over on April 13 for speeding and was charged with DUI after a blood test revealed an alcohol content more than twice the legal limit. Upon closer inspection of Cruz-Gamez’s criminal record, authorities discovered that he had been charged with a DUI in 2016 in Blaine County, but never convicted because he failed to appear for a court hearing and was never found until his arrest in April.
Fredback explained that because Cruz-Gamez had never been convicted on the 2016 DUI charge, it wasn’t possible to charge the 2019 offense as a third DUI in 10 years—a felony in Idaho (Cruz-Gamez had also had a DUI conviction in 2013). Instead, the 2019 case is currently being tried in Magistrate Court as a misdemeanor, according to court records, and the 2016 case was charged as a felony third offense in 10 years due to a 2006 DUI conviction.
Following his jail sentence, Cruz-Gamez will be deported back to Mexico, according to his public defense attorney, Cheri Hicks.
“I just hope you realize every time you drink and drive you put innocent people at risk,” 5th District Judge Ned Williamson said prior to sentencing.
Because of the deportation, Cruz-Gamez was give the jail time along with four years of unsupervised probation and a driver’s license suspension in the U.S. for the next five years. In addition, he must pay $2,000 in fines, plus court costs and reimbursement to the county for legal representation by a public defender.