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Press Release

Liberian National Sentenced for Resisting and Injuring Federal Officer During Removal Process

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON - A Liberian national was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for resisting a federal officer at Logan International Airport. The defendant struck deportation officers, injuring one, as the officers attempted to facilitate the defendant’s removal from the United States.

Mohammed Kenneh, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. to 27 months in prison and two years of supervised release. In January 2018, Kenneh pleaded guilty to one count of resisting a federal officer.

“The public needs to be aware that this office will aggressively pursue a ‘zero tolerance’ policy in cases involving physical assaults on agents and officers who enforce our Nation’s federal immigration laws,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “Working in an increasingly politicized and hostile environment, these men and women are simply doing their jobs.”

“Individuals who think they can get away with assaulting ICE Deportation Officers should think again,” said Rebecca J. Adducci, Interim Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, Boston. “This case powerfully demonstrates the priority that our justice system places not just on the enforcement of federal immigration law, but on the importance of protecting the dedicated men and women who put their lives on the line every day to enforce those laws.” 

Between 2002 and 2012, Kenneh, a lawful permanent resident of the United States, was served with four restraining orders, issued by three different women. In 2015, Kenneh was convicted of violating a restraining order and sentenced to one year in jail; and in 2008, Kenneh was convicted of breaking and entering and sentenced to probation. His convictions rendered him deportable, and he was ordered removed by an immigration judge in Boston in July 2016.

On Aug. 29, 2017, two deportation officers assigned to accompany Kenneh to Liberia, began the removal process. When the officers attempted to process Kenneh for removal, he was verbally disruptive and physically resisted. The officers then handcuffed Kenneh and escorted him to a van for transport to Logan International Airport.

Upon arrival at the airport, Kenneh refused to exit the van. When one of the officers entered the van to remove Kenneh, he became physically aggressive. Kenneh used his shoulders and head to strike the officer, knocking him to the floor. Kenneh then wrapped his handcuffs around the officer’s wrist and twisted them forcibly. As a result of the physical altercation, the officers aborted the removal proceedings and returned Kenneh to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

USA Lelling and Interim Field Office Director Aducci made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth G. Shine of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated August 14, 2018