ICE officials slammed a local North Carolina sheriff’s department after it released a previously deported illegal alien who was arrested on child sex charges.

In a statement blasting the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s office, the federal immigration authority accused the department of endangering the public by refusing to honor an ICE detainer request for 33-year-old Honduran national Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo.

Pacheco had an immigration detainer placed on him after being arrested in June on charges of first degree rape and sex crimes involving a minor, but the sheriff’s department refused to honor the detainer and released him without informing ICE.

Pacheco, who had previously been deported to Honduras in 2006, was re-arrested by ICE in a targeted August 9 raid.

“By releasing a previously deported alien facing serious criminal charges, Mecklenburg County chose to release a serious public safety threat onto the streets of Charlotte where he was free to potentially harm others for nearly two months until his capture by ICE,” the agency wrote in a statement.

ICE’s Atlanta Field Director also slammed the Charlotte area sheriff’s department for endangering the community by serving as a “Sanctuary City.”

“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 these policies.”

ICE went on to list 22 previous instances where the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s office had failed to honor immigration detainers, releasing rapists, kidnappers and other violent criminals into the public.


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