Mecklenburg County, North Carolina is the latest saga in the feud between local leftist leaders and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Just a week after Mecklenburg County Sherriff Gerry McFadden proudly boasted that his police "just don’t do that work anymore" in regards to ICE detainer requests, the federal agency announced the capture of an illegal immigrant who was arrested on "first-degree rape and indecent liberties with a minor charges," but was released by local police after the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor an ICE detainer.
A press release sent Thursday announced "fugitive Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, 33, a Honduran national, and repeat immigration violator" was arrested by ICE on August 9 during an agency operation. ICE deported Pacheco in July 2007 back to his native country, but he subsequently returned. On June 14, 2019, he was arrested on the aforementioned sex crime charges. ICE issued a detainer on June 15, but Mecklenburg County released the suspect on June 16.
"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,” said ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Gallagher.
"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 to these policies," he added.
Pacheco's case is just one of dozens similar to Mecklenburg County. The press release lists 22 other incidents of the police refusing to comply with ICE. These cases include everything from larceny to sexual assault to child rape. Some of these suspects are still large.