ICE arrests fugitive on rape charges in NC after prior release

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested a Honduran man after deputies in Mecklenburg County released him, despite rape and child sex charges.

Authorities say Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, 33, a repeat immigration violator, was targeted during an enforcement operation in Mecklenburg County on Aug. 9.

According to a release from ICE, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor an ICE detainer, or even notify ICE of the release, resulting in Pacheco’s release, despite first-degree rape and indecent liberties with a minor charges.

Pacheco was previously removed from the United States to Honduras in July 2006, and illegally re-entered, the release says.

Pacheco was arrested by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on June 14 on one count of first-degree rape and two counts of indecent liberties with a child. A detainer was issued the following day, but the detainer was not honored.

“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.”

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