Convicted cocaine trafficker with many aliases held in Charleston, accused of entering country illegally

Samuel Mendez-Ramirez, 40, is a convicted cocaine trafficker accused of entering the country illegally from Mexico.

A convicted cocaine trafficker with a long list of aliases is being held in the Charleston County jail after his indictment for entering the country illegally from Mexico.

Charged with unlawful re-entry of an aggravated felon after removal is Samuel Mendez-Ramirez, a 40-year-old felon also known as Joel Ramirez, Samuel Mendez-Puga, Puga Mendez, Samuel Mendez, Samuel Puga Mendez and Samuel Puga, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In November 1999, Mendez-Ramirez was convicted in North Carolina of three cocaine trafficking offenses and one count of conspiracy to traffic marijuana by possession, according to court documents. After serving prison time, he was deported to Mexico in March 2002, records show.

On July 20, the suspect was arrested in Beaufort for driving without a license, authorities said. When questioned by immigration agents based in Charleston, he admitted to entering the country illegally, an arrest affidavit stated.

The maximum sentence Mendez-Ramirez could receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 20 years, prosecutors said.

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