California county's sanctuary policy may have protected illegal immigrant before murder, documents show

The illegal immigrant arrested in last month's murder of a California woman apparently had been protected by the county's sanctuary policy before the killing, even though immigration officials had tried to detain him, documents provided to Fox News on Thursday suggest.

The suspect, Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranza, was arrested this past Monday in connection to the Feb. 28 stabbing death of 59-year-old Bambi Larson in San Jose. Following the arrest, San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia detailed the suspect’s extensive criminal history – including admitted gang ties – and noted that Carranza had been on the radar of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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An Oct. 9, 2018 detainer notice from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), shared with Fox News and “The Ingraham Angle” by a source with knowledge of the case, noted that Carranza, 24, was to be deported – but a second document dated the following day was stamped with a notice that the request was “NOT HONORED PER COUNTY POLICY.” The second document showed the request had been sent to Santa Clara County.

Fox News verified the authenticity of these documents with DHS. County officials did not respond to Fox News' requests for comment.

Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranza, 24, was arrested Monday night in the murder of 59-year-old Bambi Larson after police say he stalked her before stabbing her to death.

Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranza, 24, was arrested Monday night in the murder of 59-year-old Bambi Larson after police say he stalked her before stabbing her to death. (Facebook/ San Jose Police Department)

Carranza, described as a homeless man who had “stalked” Larson before the killing, had been deported in 2013, after DHS detained him at the Texas-Mexico border, but he later managed to re-enter the U.S., Garcia said. A law enforcement officer who spoke under the condition of anonymity said Carranza's return was apparently sometime that year - and that he remained.

“The individual entered the country illegally between ports of entry near McAllen, Texas, in 2013," the source said. "At some point after, he was able to avoid removal by claiming a credible fear, was administered a credible fear exam, and screened positive. Thus, he was subsequently released and allowed to remain in the country.”

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In the following years, he was linked to a string of crimes, according to police. Among them: a 2015 burglary conviction in San Jose, a 2016 arrest for battery in Los Angeles and a 2017 conviction of false imprisonment in San Jose.

Garcia said Carranza had been on probation for possession of methamphetamine, paraphernalia, false imprisonment and burglary before the killing.

County officials have been at odds over who's to blame for failing to stop the suspect.

Garcia said at a news conference on Tuesday that his officers do not ask people their immigration status – and doing so in Carranza’s case would not have affected the results.

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He continued: “We are here to protect and embrace our otherwise law-abiding, undocumented residents. We are not here nor should we be here to shield admitted gangsters or violent criminals regardless of immigration status.”

County Counsel James R. Williams said at a news conference on Wednesday that the burden for Carranza’s crime falls on federal officials, The Mercury News reported. “ICE should’ve gotten a warrant here. They could’ve gotten a warrant here,” he said. “And, the county’s practice has always been to honor warrants that are issued.”

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However, the Mercury News noted that the county jail ignored six requests by ICE to turn over Carranza. The documents obtained by Fox News suggest that was the case at least once.

The county’s policy on detainer requests states that it will “exercise its discretion to honor the request” if it finds that the detainee is convicted of a serious or violent felony offense.