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RACINE — The man accused of threatening to shoot and kill passengers on a Greyhound bus in January was sentenced Monday to time served.

Margarito Vargas-Rosas, 34, was charged after the Jan. 12 incident on a bus traveling from Milwaukee to Chicago along Interstate 94. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct — one of the two charges he initially faced in the case.

Vargas-Rosas was originally also charged with one count of making terrorist threats. That charge was dismissed, but Judge Mark Nielsen reserved the right to consider that charge as he imposed a sentence.

The District Attorney’s Office requested a jail sentence but did not specify a length. Disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Vargas-Rosas’ attorney asked that he be sentenced to the 52 days he had already served.

Both the prosecutor and defense attorney said that Vargas-Rosas, who reportedly is in this country illegally, is expected to be deported at the end of his sentence.

Nielsen granted the defense attorney’s request but said Vargas-Rosas would have to serve one day in jail for every $50 of unpaid fines he accumulates. The judge gave him six months to pay his surcharges.

Vargas-Rosas spoke through an interpreter during Monday’s hearing but did not provide a statement to the court as the judge considered his sentence.

Incident details

A criminal complaint filed against Vargas-Rosas states a passenger called 911 on Jan. 12 to report that he threatened to kill her and everyone on the bus after she told him to stop arguing with another man while at the Milwaukee bus station. The man with whom the defendant was arguing told the caller that Vargas-Rosas had a gun.

The caller told the dispatcher that Vargas-Rosas continued to make threats to passengers, the complaint states.

However, after stopping the bus, police searched the bus and did not find a gun.

Authorities previously stated that Milwaukee County deputies could not get the bus to pull over, and that the driver did not stop for Racine County deputies, either. The bus continued into Kenosha County, where police spiked the tires, and the driver pulled over just across the Wisconsin-Illinois state line in Wadsworth, Ill.

Vargas-Rosas was arrested and held in Lake County, Ill., before being extradited to Racine County to face charges.

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Reporter

Sari Lesk covers the City of Racine, Gateway and UW-Parkside. She is new to the community and moonlights as an amateur baker.

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