By Brian Maass
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) - The Arapahoe County District Attorney estimates Colorado taxpayers will end up spending about $1 million to prosecute and house Pedro Reynaldo Tun, who has been convicted for drunk driving five times, deported twice and admits he has been in the United States illegally since he was 13 years old.
"I'm here alone and I like to drink," said Tun, through an interpreter, explaining his five DUI cases.
CBS4 interviewed Tun in the Arapahoe County Jail where he is in custody. In one earlier case in Douglas County, he was charged with vehicular homicide when a passenger in his car was killed during an accident.
Asked about another of his drunk driving convictions, Tun reasoned that, "I wasn't driving drunk, I was just over the limit."
For Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, equally as disconcerting as all those DUI convictions is how easily Tun crossed back into the United States from Mexico after he was deported.
"If someone wants to come into our country from the southern border they just do," said Brauchler. "There's very little we can do to dissuade or stop them."
Brauchler went on to say, "This is a guy who was spreading out his drunk driving all around the metro area. He drove drunk everywhere in the metro area."
During his jailhouse interview, Tun recounted how he was deported to Mexico after two of his DUI cases. He said in both cases, he paid "coyotes," human smugglers, to help him sneak back into the United States.
"One time it was easy, the other time it wasn't," said Tun.
He said in one case he paid the smugglers $8,000 and in the second case, $5,000. Asked if it was difficult to cross back into the U.S., the father of four said, "Not really."
Tun said he was aware of President Donald Trump's plan to build a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border but said he did not think it would really stop the illegal border crossings.
"No. You know who will benefit is the coyotes because they are going to charge more."
Brauchler said cases like Tun's leave Coloradans angry and fed up, "There's no more patience or forgiveness. People get outraged and they are entitled to get outraged."
Brauchler's office recently secured the fifth DUI conviction of Tun and earlier this month, a judge sentenced Tun to the maximum: about 15½ years in jail. But Brauchler estimates with "good time" and other sentencing provisions, Tun could end up serving less than a third of that sentence before he is released, possibly to be deported again.
If that happens said Brauchler, "Does anybody think he's not coming back? Why would you have any hope of that?"
The prosecutor estimates that past jail and prison stretches for Tun, coupled with future incarceration and prosecution costs will likely mean Colorado taxpayers will spend about a million dollars on Pedro Tun. Brauchler said cases like this are, "for most Coloradans... an eye opener and shocking."
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