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June 29, 2017Alexandria, LA, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

African criminal alien convicted of obstructing ICE deportation attempts

ALEXANDRIA, La. – A Sierra Leone man previously convicted of felony assault in Maryland was convicted Tuesday on two additional felony counts for resisting his removal from the United States.

Sheku Kumalah, 31, faces up to four years in federal prison at sentencing for obstructing his removal. According to court documents, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers twice attempted to place Mr. Kumalah on escorted commercial flights to his home country at the Alexandria International Airport in July 2016 and August 2016.

Mr. Kumalah verbally and physically resisted the officers’ attempts to escort him onto the plane, which precluded ICE’s ability to carry out his deportation.

Mr. Kamalah was initially encountered by ICE following his felony conviction for assault in Prince George’s County, Maryland, in May 2012. Mr. Kamalah was subsequently ordered removed from the United States by a federal immigration judge in April 2014; he entered ICE custody in September 2015 following his release from Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown.

Mr. Kumalah is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 29. In addition to four years in federal prison, he faces up to a $250,000 fine for each obstruction attempt. Mr. Kumalah will still face removal from the United States upon the completion of any federal prison term he may receive.

“ICE will continue to dedicate resources to prosecuting individuals who hamper their removals,” said Scott Sutterfield, acting field office director for ERO New Orleans. “This case illustrates our close cooperation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the successful prosecution of illegal aliens who pose a threat to public safety and border security.”

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David J. Ayo and Joseph T. Mickel on behalf of U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook in the Western District of Louisiana.