An illegal alien accused of raping a young girl was allowed to walk out of a county jail without notification to immigration authorities.
Anastacio Eugenio Lopez Fabian, 24, faced several charges related to sexual relations with a girl under 14 years old, and was ultimately detained by ICE despite a lack of cooperation from a Washington sheriff’s office, the Daily Astorian reports.
Lopez was charged with two counts of second-degree rape, three counts of third-degree rape, fourth-degree assault, and harassment for alleged relations with a minor beginning in 2016.
Police arrested him in February, but he was released the same day after posting $25,000 bail.
On the day Lopez arrived for a hearing at Clatsop County Circuit Court, ICE was on the scene and detained him, transporting him to Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
The man had twice been deported to his native Guatemala.
Immigration officers were alerted to Lopez’s immigration status through their own information database, not by Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office.
In a statement, ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell said:
“Anastacio Eugenio Lopez-Fabian is a citizen of Guatemala illegally in the U.S. ICE deportation officers removed him to his home country on two prior occasions, once in April 2013 and another time in January 2014. …
“Hours after his release, ICE deportation officers received information from federal databases about his prior immigration history and his most recent arrest. From there, they conducted an online review of jail and court records and determined that Lopez-Fabian did not have lawful status in the country, and subsequently, targeted him for immigration enforcement.
“ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”
Sheriff Tom Bergin argued the timing of Lopez’s initial arrest did not allow for a notification to be sent to ICE.
“He posted bail, so there’s not much we can do unless ICE notifies us, which it didn’t,” he said. “ICE puts out a blanket statement every time they do these things because they want to cover their butts. Believe me, we want to hold these guys.”
Bergin said his department is hesitant to detain people based on immigration status after a U.S. District Court case in Portland ruled in favor of an illegal alien detained by ICE at Clackamas County jail.
ICE, Bergin explained, often uses detainment warrants signed by its own agents rather than by judges. The sheriff recommended they use judicial warrants instead.
“All the federal government has to do is change one tiny little thing,” he argued. “I think the current administration is looking at doing that.”
Bergin also disagreed with lawmakers who claim detaining illegal aliens in public places, such as courthouses, discourages immigrants from appearing in court as witnesses
“I don’t have a problem with it. We’re worried about the actual criminals that are causing problems and doing harm to our citizens. If they’re a wanted criminal, they’re not going to show up anyway. I don’t think it affects it one way or another.”