ORLANDO, Fla. – An illegally present Mexican national was indicted in federal court Wednesday on a charge that he connived or conspired or took any other action designed to prevent or hamper, and with the purpose of preventing and hampering, his departure pursuant to the final order of removal. He was also indicted for illegal reentry after removal.
According to court documents, Jose Carlos Hernandez-Lopez, 22, was encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol after a traffic stop on Sept. 6. At that time, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) was operating under an emergency operation due to Hurricane Irma. Based on the emergency operations procedures, the defendant was placed on the Alternates to Detention (ATD) Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP) using a GPS ankle bracelet monitoring system and released from ICE ERO custody with instructions to return back to the ERO Office on Sept. 19.
On the morning of Sept. 7, BI Incorporated, the GPS ankle bracelet monitoring company, contacted the ATD/ISAP Officer at ERO Orlando and reported that the defendant’s GPS ankle bracelet had received a GPS strap tamper alert and was no longer functional. Due to the unsafe conditions of Hurricane Irma and the emergency operations, the ATD/ISAP Officer was unable to respond to the defendant’s reported residence. Furthermore, the defendant failed to report in-person to his scheduled appointment on Sept. 19. The GPS bracelet is valued at $1,000.
“This legal case will set a new precedent in the region and highlight ICE’s legal team demanding work to protect the integrity of the immigration system at all levels,” said Maria N. Bjornerud, chief counsel of the Orlando Office of Chief Counsel office.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina R. Downes, on assignment from the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, ICE, with the office of Acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow, Middle District Florida.