An ICE detainee who escaped from immigration agents at a New York City airport late Tuesday made his move while his handcuffs were off during a meal break, according to media reports.
Mohamadou Lamine Mbacke, a 31-year-old Senegalese native described as a “violent felon” by law enforcement sources that spoke to the New York Post, was scheduled to get on a flight to Dakar at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 4.
Mbacke’s handcuffs were removed by ICE officers before his escape as he was going through a security checkpoint, the sources added.
ABC 7 reported the officers got Mbacke something to eat as they waited for the flight to leave, and he vanished when they turned their backs for a few moments.
Instead of immediately notifying police that oversee the airport, the agents went around the terminal themselves, showing airport employees pictures of Mbacke and asking if they had seen anything, the station added.
Police weren’t tipped off until nearly two hours later, and surveillance video showed Mbacke leaving the busy airport in a taxi around 9 p.m. local time, ICE said.
“We were notified between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m.” a Port Authority Police Department spokesman told the New York Post.
The apparent mistakes made while trying to find Mbacke drew a sharp rebuke Wednesday from the president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association.
“The delay in notifying the Port Authority Police Department about the prisoner’s escape is yet another example of the lack of coordinated communications between all law enforcement agencies at our nation’s airports,” Paul Nunziato said, according to the New York Daily News.
Mbacke, who has been held by ICE since 2015, used to live in New York City and was arrested there 10 times dating back to 2006, a New York Police Department source told the New York,
The source added Mbacke entered the U.S. illegally in 2005 and had been arrested twice in Michigan in 2012 and 2013 on concealed firearm, open container and weapons possession charges. Mbacke reportedly pleaded guilty to the 2013 charges and spent two years in prison before ICE started deportation proceedings.
“Mbacke entered the country lawfully in 2005 before violating the terms of his status. He was ordered deported in September 2015 by an immigration judge,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday. “Mbacke has previous criminal convictions for multiple weapons and firearms offenses.”