ICE arrests illegal alien accused of rape and child sex offense after North Carolina sanctuary county released him

· August 16, 2019  
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Man behind bars in cuffs
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An illegal immigrant accused of sex crimes, including one involving a minor, was released by local officials in the Charlotte, N.C., area earlier this year until recently apprehended in an immigration operation.

According to a Thursday afternoon Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) press release, federal agents arrested fugitive and repeat immigration violator Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo — a 33-year-old Honduran national —  “during a targeted enforcement operation in Mecklenburg County” last week.

This operation occurred “nearly two months after the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor an ICE detainer, or even notify ICE of the release, and instead released [Pacheco-Leonardo] from local criminal custody following his arrest on first-degree rape and indecent liberties with a minor charges.”

Pacheco-Leonardo was free for about two months before his arrest by ICE. He had previously been deported to Honduras in 2006.

“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,” ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Gallagher said in a statement. “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.”

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gary McFadden, who was elected last year, announced an end to his department’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities last year.

At a hearing in Raleigh earlier this year, a Republican state representative called McFadden others in the state “sanctuary sheriffs” because of their immigrant detention policies.

McFadden’s sanctuary efforts were profiled in a post at the Atlantic in July that describes in detail a situation in which another previously deported criminal alien released by McFadden’s department kidnapped and brutally assaulted a woman.

“I spoke directly to this point late last year,” Gallagher said in the Atlantic story, “and warned that the noncooperation policy would result in preventable crimes of violence taking place in Mecklenburg County.”


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.