Federal Escapee Indicted
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 24, 2013|
FRESNO, CA—A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment Thursday charging Jesus Maria Bonillas-Santa Maria, 56, with escape, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court records, on March 23, 1999, Bonillas-Santa Maria escaped from the Taft Correctional Institute in Kern County. He was serving a 15-year sentence for a conviction in the federal District of Arizona of marijuana distribution, among other crimes. He had a projected release date of September 21, 2002. After his escape, he remained a fugitive for nearly 14 years until his arrest in March 2013 in Arizona.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Frye is prosecuting the case.
Bonillas-Santa Maria is scheduled to be arraigned today at 1:30 p.m. before Fresno U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe. If convicted, Bonillas-Santa Maria faces the maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.