ICE Agents at odds with OK CO Sheriff’s Office over Salvadoran citizen custody status

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is responding after officials with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement released information about the arrest of a rape suspect.

On Thursday, ICE officials announced that they arrested 38-year-old Antonio Ulises Perez, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador after he had been released from custody by the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Perez was arrested by the sheriff’s office last month and charged with one count of first-degree rape.

Agents allege that they filed an ICE detainer, which advises law enforcement agencies to notify ICE before the suspect is released and to maintain custody of them until ICE can take custody of them.

Officials say they lodged an immigration detainer for Perez with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. However, they say the sheriff’s office refused to honor the immigration detainer and released Perez from custody on bond.

“It is unconscionable that someone who is sworn to uphold the law would find it acceptable to release an alleged rapist who is illegally present in the U.S. back into the community when there are other options available under federal immigration law,” said Marc Moore, field office director for ICE Dallas. “Within a few hours of being released, this illegal alien was back at the home of the rape victim where he was free to re-victimize her and harm other members of the community. Fortunately, ICE deportation officers were able to quickly locate this individual and safely take him back into custody.”

As a result, ICE officials say Perez went to the home of the woman he allegedly victimized.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office sent News 4 the following response:

“October 10, 2019 the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of a news release issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding an individual who was held at the Oklahoma County Detention Center. ICE erroneously reported that the OCSO arrested the individual when another law enforcement agency made the arrest. Another factual error made by ICE is they described the arrestee as being charged with rape. The arresting agency booked the person on a complaint, but he was never formally charged with a crime by the arresting agency. The arresting agency contacted OCSO and issued a release pending their investigation.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is not a sanctuary county as we have always worked with ICE, we even provide the agency space in the jail to staff their agents. ICE did not have a warrant for OCSO to hold the individual, but we did contact ICE before his release and notified the agency that they would need to send someone to pick him up on their ‘hold.’ ICE had an hour and a half to take the individual into custody but did not send anyone to pick up the individual before his scheduled release, and without any legal authority to hold the individual he was released.
Since ICE already has staff working inside the jail, we advise them to have someone at the facility 24/7 to transport their detainees. We have reached out to the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office for an opinion regarding the legality of ICE detainers.”

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