If ever there were a story to highlight the need for better border security as well as local and federal law enforcement coordination, it is that of previously deported illegal alien Jose Abarca.
Abarca, a Mexican national, has been sitting in jail since April 3rd, 2018 after Montgomery Country, MD police arrested the man during a routine traffic stop. After pulling over Abarca, police officers took the man’s information and ran it through their system. As his past offenses popped up on their computers, authorities realized they were not dealing with a simple speeding violation but were actually face to face with a convicted drug dealer and an alleged rapist, according to WJLA ABC7.
Abarca’s trouble with law enforcement began in January of 2008 after Montgomery County police conducted a drug bust that resulted in “$24,000 in U.S. currency, $7,700 in Mexican pesos, 15 grams of cocaine, three cell phones, a tally sheet, cutting device and sandwich baggies” being retrieved from Abarca’s mobile home in Germantown, MD.
The illegal alien plead guilty, but not before his attorney attempted to argue that his client was simply forced into selling drugs because of the economic effects of the Great Recession as well as his drug addiction.
“The construction starts tanking because the building and real estate industry starts tanking...My client is not a huge or major player in the cocaine industry. It was mostly selling and violating — actually — the number one rule of drug dealing, getting high on your own supply,” attorney Frank Trock said.
“He has an addiction. It’s an illness. It’s a horrible illness. I believe he’s certainly savable, your honor. He’s been here for years. There is no prior record. This is not a man who violates the law constantly,” Trock added, claiming that Abarca was addicted to drugs.
The court disagreed and placed Abarca in jail. On March 9th, 2009, Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent him back to Mexico.
But, just 10 days after his deportation, Montgomery authorities reported that Abarca's DNA matched with evidence from the crime scene of a 1996 rape.
In 1996, a deaf woman was visiting her friend and attending a fair at Galludet University in Washington, DC. On her second night at her friend's house, she "fell asleep on a sofa in her friend's back sunroom. It was around 10:30 p.m. when she dozed off. Then around 2 a.m., the woman awoke to a man shaking her body."
"To her astonishment, the man was pointing a silver handgun at her head, putting his hand over her mouth and motioning for her to stay silent and still. The suspect, described as a 'Spanish' man in his 20s with black hair, ripped off the sofa covers and raped the woman for 'a few minutes.' The victim did not put up a struggle out of fear for her life."
The two friends called the police after the assailant ran off into the night. Authorities took DNA samples but were unable to find a match in their criminal database system.
That 1996 case laid dormant until the January 2008 drug bust of Abarca. However, by the time that local police determined he was the primary suspect, he had already been deported out of the country by the feds.
It is unclear when he re-entered the United States, but Abarca now faces charges of "first-degree rape, first-degree burglary and the use of a handgun during a violent felony" after being stopped this April. He could be sentenced for a lifetime in prison plus 40 years if found guilty. Given that his DNA was found at the scene, it is likely that he will found guilty come his trial in October.
But, on June 13 of this year, ICE put out a new deportation detainer on Abarca requesting that he be handed over to the federal authorities.
This could pose a tricky conundrum for Montgomery authorities. Montgomery County, a sanctuary county, routinely ignores detainer requests because they feel it hampers local law enforcement's ability to crack down on crime and gain trust in immigrant communities. Of course, one could argue that if he is handed over to ICE now, there is no guarantee that he will not waltz right back over the border a third time after his second deportation.
It is unclear what, if any communication, occurred between local police and ICE in 2009 aside from Montgomery County alerting authorities they had an illegal alien inside their jail. It is unknown when local police decided to run his DNA to check for other crimes. But, clearly communication could have been better. Abarca's case also highlights the need for better border security to prevent illegal aliens from re-entering the country after deportation.
This case, now 22 years in the making, is exhausting for all parties involved. To hep sort out the exact sequence of events, our friends at WJLA ABC 7 put together a timeline documenting the saga of the alleged rapist, convicted drug dealer, and previously deported illegal alien that is Jose Abarca:
Timeline of Events:
- October 19, 1996 — Victim raped while sleeping in a sunroom along Notley Road in Colesville, Maryland, suspect DNA collected
- January 4, 2008 — Montgomery County Police arrest Jose Abarca on charges pertaining to cocaine distribution
- July 7, 2008 — Abarca pleads guilty in cocaine distribution case, is sentenced to one-year in jail
- March 9, 2009 — ICE deports Abarca to his native Mexico
- March 19, 2009 — Montgomery County Police make DNA link and formally charge Abarca with 1996 rape case, but are unable to locate him
- Unknown Date — Abarca returns to the United States illegally
- April 3, 2018 — Montgomery County Police arrest Abarca during a routine traffic stop on outstanding warrant
- June 13, 2018 — ICE lodges new deportation detainer against Abarca
Editor's Note: This article was updated to reflect that Montgomery County is a sanctuary county.