Illegal immigrant linked to fatal hit-run not detained in Denver despite ICE request

Despite a request from federal immigration officials, the Denver Sheriff Department this week refused to detain an undocumented immigrant who was arrested Sunday in connection with a fatal hit and run.

The crash between a semi-truck and a pickup truck on Interstate 70 killed the driver of the semi and caused a fire that closed the roadway in both directions for several hours.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents requested that the department detain the pickup truck's driver, Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda, 26, so they could take him into custody. But Denver stopped honoring detention requests from ICE in 2014, FOX 31 reported.

Zamarripa-Castaneda, who allegedly fled the scene, can avoid federal immigration officials and deportation by posting a $25,000 bond -- making him a free man until his next court date, the station reported.

After learning that Zamarripa-Castaneda was in the country illegally, ICE issued a detainer to deport him to Mexico.

But the Denver Sheriff Department cited a potential Fourth Amendment violation for why it will not honor the detainer, the station reported.

Instead, the department said it would comply if it received an order or warrant sign by a federal judge or magistrate, something ICE officials say they don’t have the resources to acquire.

“One of the issues is we detain somewhere around 34,000 to 40,000 people per day," ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok told the station. "We place detainers on thousands and thousands of people. Getting federal warrants for each one of those individuals would be extremely time-consuming and it’s something we don’t have the resources for.”

"We place detainers on thousands and thousands of people. Getting federal warrants for each one of those individuals would be extremely time-consuming."

- ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok

As of Wednesday, Zamarripa-Castaneda had yet to be charged, but a spokesperson for the Denver District Attorney's Office told the station the goal would be to have him serve time in Colorado if convicted, before being deported. 

Benjamin Brown is a reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bdbrown473.