News and Press Releases

Orange County Man Sentenced for Forcible Assault of a Federal Officer

July 12, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, ), Vernon Foret, Director of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Miami Field Office, announced that Rafael D. Gutierrez, 40, of Orlando, Florida, was sentenced yesterday to 21 months by U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp, on charges of forcibly assaulting a Customs and Border Protection officer at the Port of Palm Beach, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 111(a)(1) and (b).

After a two day trial, a federal jury convicted Gutierrez. According to the trial evidence, on July 16, 2011, the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship arrived at the Port of Palm Beach in West Palm Beach, Florida, from Grand Bahamas Island, Bahamas. As passengers awaited inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers for entry into the U.S., a CBP Officer requested that passenger Rafael Arturo Gutierrez (R.A. Gutierrez) step out of line and proceed to a nearby doorway for secondary inspection. After the officer and R.A. Gutierrez entered the secondary inspection area, defendant Gutierrez, R.A. Gutierrez’s son, entered the secondary inspection area and struck the officer multiple times on the face and head. The CBP Officer suffered a concussion and cervical spine sprain as a result of the assault.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and CBP. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lothrop Morris.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

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