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Press Release

Honduran Man Pleads Guilty to Immigration Crime

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

BECKLEY, W.Va. –  A Honduran man pled guilty to immigration crime, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.   Elmer Hernandez, 30, entered a guilty plea to the felony offense of Reentry of a Removed Alien.  He faces up to two years of incarceration when he is sentenced on August 22, 2019.  Stuart commended the work of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the West Virginia State Police. 

“Even here in West Virginia, illegal immigration is a serious issue,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “Every week we prosecute more and more illegal reentry cases. The crisis at the border is a crisis we feel here in West Virginia. ICE is doing a terrific job as are our other law enforcement partners that work so hard to keep our communities safe.”

On March 9, 2019,  a West Virginia State Police Trooper saw a car that was stopped at Mile Marker 52 on the West Virginia Turnpike outside of Beckley, Raleigh County, West Virginia.  Three men were standing outside a car with its emergency blinkers on.  When the Trooper pulled in, the men ran to the car and began to drive away.  The Trooper asked the driver what was happening and for a driver’s license.  The driver could not communicate with the Trooper due to a language barrier and did not have a driver’s license.  The Trooper contacted a translator service provided by ICE to assist.  The driver and two other individuals spoke with ICE agents telephonically and all three were found to be in the United States illegally. All three men were taken into custody and fingerprinted.  Hernandez, one of the three men, was found to be a prior reentry.  Specifically, his prints matched a prior removal from Pennsylvania in 2015.  Hernandez admitted to ICE agents that he was in the United States illegally and had not obtained permission to legally enter the United States.  He had not otherwise sought legal status or citizenship. Hernandez further admitted to ICE agents that he was a Honduran citizen.

United States District Judge Irene C. Berger presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes is responsible for the prosecution.  


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Updated May 17, 2019