The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency was denied access to two “unlawfully present” teens before they subsequently murdered a teenage girl with a machete and baseball bat.
According to a Homeland Security press release:
Josue Rafael Fuentes-Ponce and Joel Ernesto Escobar, both Salvadoran nationals, were previously arrested on May 11, 2018 when they were arrested by Prince George’s County Police Department (PGCPD) for attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, participation in gang activity, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted robbery, and other related charges. ICE officers lodged a detainer with PGCDC, however both were released on an unknown date and time without notification to ICE.
On May 16, 2019, PGCPD arrested the same individuals and charged them with first-degree murder.
“As law enforcement officers, we must continue to serve and protect the American public and act in the interest of public safety first,” said Baltimore Field Office Director Diane Witte. “These individuals had demonstrated violent criminal behavior before, and because they were released in spite of the lawful detainer, they were afforded an opportunity to take a life.”
The Washington Post reports:
Funes-Diaz was killed by MS-13 members and associates who were worried she would go to authorities about a kidnapping and robbery the group committed earlier in the District, Prince George’s County police and prosecutors said.
In the April 18 attack, which was recorded on a cellphone camera, Fuentes-Ponce struck Funes-Diaz with a machete and was seen washing the weapon in a creek after she was killed, according to police charging documents. The machete was later found abandoned in a park in the District, police said.
Law enforcement found Funes-Diaz’s body in a creek in the woods in Riverdale, Md., one month after her death as investigators were pursuing a tip, police said.
Prince George’s county is denying that ICE was not notified about the teens release.
In a statement issued Tuesday, ICE says that a detainer was filed with the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections in the 2018 case, but the boys were released on an unknown date and time without notification to ICE.
But county officials say they did not release the teens to the public. Four days after PGCDC took them into custody, a court ordered both to be sent to the Cheltenham Youth Detention Center, a state facility, according to a PGCDC statement released Tuesday. (See the full statement below.)
The boys were released from the state juvenile facility early in 2019 after the disposition of their cases, according to PGCDC.
So after that, did anyone notify ICE that a group of “unlawfully present” teens suspected of violent crimes were in the criminal system? I guess not.
“It’s basically a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution to hold someone without due process and a warrant,” Prince George’s corrections director Mary Lou McDonaugh said.
(Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)