A man accused in a fatal hit-and-run on Tuesday has been in and out of prison for years, had a suspended license, and has been deported for criminal offenses at least six times, court records show.
Ramon Jaime Horta was convicted in 2001 for sale and possession of a controlled substance and driving on a suspended license, according to Orange County Superior Court records.
He got nine months in jail and was deported by immigration officials.
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In 2008, the Santa Ana man pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. He was sentenced to two years in state prison. This happened after he already been deported in 2002 and 2006.
He did not have a valid license and was under the influence Tuesday when he allegedly struck and killed Marcello Bisarello in Santa Ana, police said.
Horta was captured a few blocks away by a man who watched him take off.
Junay Fisher, a roommate of Bisarello, was devastated. He lived with Bisarello in McFadden House, a room-and-board facility. He said he moved in about a month ago.
"He's very mellow, not really talkative," Fisher said.
Horta had a prior DUI conviction, police said. He also had a probation violation in 2005. According to immigration and customs officials there were two more deportations in 2009 and 2012.
Officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has lodged an immigration detainer against Horta with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department requesting notification before his release. That will allowed immigration officials to take him into custody.
Horta was deported in 2001, 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2012. He has criminal convictions for battery, drug possession and various other misdemeanor convictions.
Charges in Tuesday's hit and run have not been filed.