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July 6, 2015Alexandria, LA, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

Ethopian criminal alien convicted of resisting ICE removal attempts

ALEXANDRIA, La. — An Ethiopian criminal alien with a prior conviction for felony aggravated assault in Chicago was convicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Thursday on two counts of resisting a deportation order by refusing to leave the country after being ordered to depart by an immigration judge.

According to court documents, Henok Dejene Retta, 30, of Ethopia, verbally and physically resisted two attempts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers to place him aboard a commercial flight from the Alexandria International Airport in November 2013 and again in January 2014.

In addition to resisting his removal, Retta told those present that he had terrorist ties in Africa and would have the plane attacked should officers place him aboard the aircraft. These actions violated Transportation Security Administration and airline policies, and thus he was prevented from boarding the flight.

Retta faces a maximum penalty of four years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release for resisting a deportation order. He also faces removal from the United States following the completion of his prison sentence. Retta’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 13.

Retta was originally encountered by ICE in May 2012 following a felony conviction for aggravated assault in Chicago.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will continue to dedicate all its resources to prosecuting individuals who hamper their removal,” said David D. Rivera, 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 egregious immigration law violators who pose a threat to public safety and border security.”

In fiscal year 2014, ERO removed 315,943 individuals from the United States. In addition to convicted criminals, the agency's enforcement priorities include those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants – individuals who returned to the United States after being previously removed by ICE – and immigration fugitives. In fiscal year 2014, 98 percent of ICE removals met these priorities.

Updated: 07/07/2015