In a horrible incident that could have been prevented, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a teenager was brutally and viciously slaughtered, and his body was dismembered, by a suspected Ms-13 gang member who had been arrested numerous times before, yet released.
ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman told the Daily Caller that Carlos Orlando Iraheta-Vega, an ‘undocumented immigrant’ from El Salvador, would not have been free to kill a teen boy in King County, Washington, if the detainer against him had been honored during any ONE of his previous arrests.
“This scenario, where sanctuary policies shield criminal aliens who prey on people in the community from immigration enforcement, is becoming all too common,” ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “As Iraheta-Vega’s crimes increased in severity, local officials chose to release him, time and time again, without notification to ICE, a simple process that could have potentially prevented this crime.”
Sixteen-year-old Juan Carlos Con Guzman’s body was found in a river in King County, Washington, in September. Authorities discovered the teenager had been beaten with a bat and hacked with a machete. Parts of his body were dismembered, with detectives finding one of his legs and one of his arms laying apart from the rest of his body. Con Guzman ultimately died of blunt force trauma and cuts to his neck, the King County Medical Examiner determined.
Two men were later charged with the murder: Iraheta-Vega and Rudy Osvaldo Garcia-Hernandez, both of whom have been identified as MS-13 gang members.
Iraheta-Vega, then a 17-year-old, arrived in the United States illegally in September 2016 as an unaccompanied child. Customs and Border Protection first placed him in Clint, Texas, but an immigration judge later allowed him to settle in Seattle, Washington.
He was arrested by the Kent Police Department on local charges Nov. 8 2018. However, when ICE lodged a detainer — which asks local authorities to hold an individual until federal immigration authors arrive, and notify them if they are releasing the individual — the King County Jail released him without notifying the agency, according to ICE.
Iraheta-Vega was arrested by the Burien Police Department on Nov. 13, 2018, for DUI and other charges — the same day he was released from the King County Jail — and booked into the South Correctional Entity (SCORE). He was later released before ICE could apprehend him. He was again arrested by the Burien Police Department for DUI and other charges Aug. 24 and released by SCORE before ICE could apprehend him.
Following the murder of Con Guzman, the Federal Way Police Department arrested Iraheta-Vega on homicide charges and booked him into the King County Jail.
Iraheta-Vega, who is 20 years old, said he had arranged to fight Con Guzman to settle a personal dispute, but later he and Garcia-Hernandez decided to kill the teenager instead. Iraheta-Vega went by the nickname “Joker” and Garcia-Hernandez went by the nickname “inferno,” according to The Washington Times.
Washington state — and King County, in particular — has a long history of not cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, for example, signed a bill into law that prohibits state prisons and jails from honoring detainer requests or from alerting the agency if suspected illegal aliens are to be released from custody. It also prohibits law enforcement from asking about a person’s immigration status or place of birth, with limited exceptions.
King County has included “sanctuary” rules in their books for years. The Council of King County passed an ordinance in 2009 that bars county authorities from enforcing federal immigration law.
In response to the media attention regarding a previous murder by an illegal immigrant, King County Executive Dow Constantine accused ICE of mounting a “public relations offensive” against them.
“ICE is now on a public relations offensive against jurisdictions that follow the rule of law, alerting the media to instances when agents send civil Immigration Detainers that are prohibited by county policy. ICE is fully aware that if they present a valid criminal warrant issued by a U.S. District Court Judge or Magistrate, the county would comply,” Constantine said Oct. 10. “To be clear, we do not hold people against their will in our detention facilities unless ordered to do so by a judge. We will continue to honor the Constitution, rather than the extrajudicial orders of any person, including the President.”
ICE responded to Constantine’s statement, pointing out that judges do not have the authority to sign off on a warrant for civil immigration violations.
“Presenting facts to the public will always be a priority of mine. The same cannot be said for King County officials, who continuously take advantage of their constituents’ misunderstanding of the process, presenting a simple criminal warrant as a solution, when they know full well NO such warrant exists for immigration purposes,” Nathalie Asher, a Seattle ICE spokesperson said.
“ICE has made it abundantly clear to every jail in the state that all we need is a timely phone call alerting us ahead of a release. Furthermore, Congress established the system of administrative warrants, still contingent on probable cause, for ICE purposes. King County’s willful refusal of ICE warrants only protects those who harm the community,” Asher continued.
The Immigration and Nationality Act gives ICE supervisors the authority to issue administrative arrests warrants. The agency told the DCNF in August that requiring a judge’s signature would be “absurd” and would likely require the hiring of thousands of judges.
A response from King County will be added should the Daily Caller News Foundation receive it.