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Press Release

El Salvadoran National Indicted For Assault And Hindering Removal

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

HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that yesterday a federal grand jury in Harrisburg indicted Jose Luis Benitez-Hernandez of hindering removal from the United States and impeding, resisting and assaulting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officers engaged in the performance of their duties.     

According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, Benitez-Hernandez, a 30 year old El Salvadoran national, failed to leave the United States after being granted voluntary departure by an Immigration Judge.  When he was taken into custody by ICE officers in Mechanicsburg on February 8, 2016, Benitez-Hernandez became combative, biting one of the officers on his hand and scratching another officer’s face.     

The matter was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott R. Ford.   

Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

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 for these offenses 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 March 17, 2016