Illegal Alien Located in Lexington County Pleads Guilty to Illegal Re-Entry
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Nicholas Benitez-Hernandez, age 46, of Mexico, has entered a guilty plea in federal court in Columbia to Illegal Re-Entry, a violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a) and (b)(2). United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs, of Columbia, accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that the South Carolina Department of Public Safety/Immigration Enforcement Unit (SCDPS/IEU) and the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office arrested Benitez-Hernandez for Forgery and Identity Fraud to Obtain Employment. He was encountered by ICE – Enforcement and Removal Operations agents on April 26, 2018, at the Lexington County. An investigation revealed that he is a citizen of Mexico who had previously been deported after serving a sentence for Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. U.S. Attorney Drake stated the maximum penalty for Illegal Re-Entry is imprisonment for 29 years and/or a fine of $250,000.
The case was investigated by agents of the SCDPS/IEU, the Newberry County Sherriff’s Office and ICE – Enforcement and Removal Operations. Assistant United States Attorney William E. Day, II of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.