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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Friday, September 16, 2016

El Salvadoran Man Convicted For Hindering His Removal From The United States And Assaulting Federal Law Enforcement Officers

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that on September 15, a jury in Harrisburg convicted Jose Luis Benitez-Hernandez, age 30, an El Salvadoran national, of hindering his removal from the United States and assaulting law enforcement officers.   

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, following a two-day trial, the jury deliberated approximately one hour before delivering its verdict.  The charges stemmed from an incident in February 2016 in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officers located Benitez-Hernandez in Mechanicsburg after he failed to leave the United States in accordance with an Immigration Judge’s order. 

After identifying Benitez-Hernandez leaving his home in a vehicle, the officers activated their emergency equipment in their vehicles. Benitez-Hernandez failed to stop, charged at one of the vehicles repeatedly, ultimately bumping the front bumper of one of the ICE vehicles.  Benitez-Hernandez then refused to exit his vehicle and had to be forcibly removed.  Before ultimately being apprehended, Benitez-Hernandez bit one of the ICE Officers and scratched another.  

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Scott Ford and Daryl Bloom.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty under federal law is 8 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated September 16, 2016