Naturalized U.S. Citizen Charged with Fraudulently Obtaining Citizenship by Failing to Disclose Role in Abuse of Prisoners
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOEL BONILLA, 30, a citizen of Honduras last residing in Norwalk, pleaded guilty today in Hartford federal court to one count of illegal reentry of a removed alien. In pleading guilty, BONILLA also acknowledged that he failed to register as a sex offender in Connecticut.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in March 2007, BONILLA was convicted in the Commonwealth of Virginia of aggravated sexual battery. He was sentenced to 20 years of incarceration, execution suspended after five years, and 10 years of probation. He also was required to register as a sex offender. After he served his prison term and registered as a sex offender in Virginia, BONILLA was remanded to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In January 2011, BONILLA was deported Honduras.
BONILLA illegally reentered the U.S. and resided in Norwalk as early as December 2015. On January 14, 2018, BONILLA was involved in a motor vehicle stop with Norwalk Police. Subsequent fingerprint analysis confirmed that BONILLA had been previously deported from the U.S. He was taken into ICE custody on February 14, 2018.
The investigation revealed that BONILLA had not registered as a sex offender in the State of Connecticut, or updated his registration in the Commonwealth of Virginia, both required by law. A sex offender is required to register following the assumption of residence in Connecticut “without undue delay.”
BONILLA is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea on November 30, 2018, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
This matter has been investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service, with the assistance of the Norwalk Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Slater.