ICE Scolds North Carolina For Letting Illegal Immigrant Child Rape Suspect Walk Free

A migrant in the country illegally was released back into his local community after a North Carolina sheriff failed to honor a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.

As if that was not bad enough, the illegal immigrant was wanted for child rape and has been able to live freely for nearly two months since Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden decided to release him.

The decision forced the federal immigration agency to begin searching for him again and, fortunately, ICE’s Charlotte Fugitive Operations Team were able to locate and arrest Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, the Honduran fugitive, on “charges of first-degree rape and indecent liberties with a minor,” BizPac Review reports.

According to the report, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Gallagher scolded the North Carolina sheriff and county for their decision to release the criminal despite their detainer.

In a statement, Gallagher called Mecklenburg County a “safe haven” for illegal immigrants.

“This is yet another example of a clear public safety threat being released onto the streets of Mecklenburg County rather than into ICE custody due to the current sheriff’s policy on ICE non-cooperation,” Gallagher said via BizPac Review. “The Mecklenburg County sheriff’s decision to restrict cooperation with ICE serves as an open invitation to aliens who commit criminal offenses that Mecklenburg County is a safe haven for persons seeking to evade federal authorities, and residents of Mecklenburg County are less safe today than last year due these policies.”

And, from the report:

Sheriff McFadden looked past his refusal to honor an ICE detainer to hide behind the law in the release of the suspected child rapist.

“Bonds are not set by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office,” McFadden said at a news conference on Friday, according to Fox 46 Charlotte. “We do not have any part of the bonds being set, and we do not have any part of the magistrate releasing these individuals.”

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In a statement, the sheriff pointed out that Pacheco-Leonardo had previously been deported and that it was a federal felony for him to reenter the U.S., saying ICE should have issued a criminal arrest warrant, knowing that he had a policy of not cooperating with administrative detainers.

“When we notified ICE on June 14, they had the discretion to bring a criminal warrant or a detainer,” McFadden said. “They sent us a detainer.”

Gallagher said the onus for keeping the illegal immigrant was on ICE to provide them with a criminal warrant, but they did not. The decision, the sheriff claimed, should shift the blame for releasing the illegal immigrant on ICE and not his office.

“ICE chose to issue voluntary ICE administrative detainers on Pacheco-Leonardo, knowing that it is against MCSO’s policy to honor such detainers,” he said. “Based upon Pacheco-Leonardo’s previous deportation, ICE could have but did NOT seek a criminal arrest warrant for Illegal Re-Entry.”

BizPac Review reports Republican North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore tweeted that he would soon take up a vote that would require cooperation with the federal immigration agency.

“The North Carolina House will vote on H.B. 370 Require Sheriff Cooperation with ICE Detainers – a bill supported by the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association – as early as next week to end this outrageous refusal to protect the public from wanted criminals,” Moore said.

Moore continued, per Fox 46 Charlotte: “What really is an outrage is the fact that he [Pacheco-Leonardo] was ever released. I mean, why are we turning a person charged with rape loose on the street?”

And: “Had the sheriff honored the ICE detainer, this rapist wouldn’t have been turned loose back on the street, but would have been turned over immediately to ICE officials.”


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