A Maryland county’s refusal to cooperate with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) may have led to an alleged MS-13 gang member’s death two days after he was released from jail.
Jose Herrera, 18, was initally arrested and charged in October by the Montgomery County Police Department with fourth-degree burglary and trespassing after he was found squatting in a vacant home with others believed to be members of the ruthless MS-13 gang, WJLA reported.
The gang reportedly took the vacated home and made it into a “hideout with graffiti, a built-in bar and shrine to the ‘Saint of Death,’” NBC Washington reported. The home was scheduled to be demolished in order to pave the way for the Purple Line rail project.
Herrera, a native of Honduras, traveled into the U.S. illegally and was given a criminal summons for the October arrest but a warrant was issued after he failed to appear in court.
He was again arrested on Dec. 12 but released on Dec. 22 after posting a $100 bond. ICE said the alleged gang member was released despite a detainer the agency claimed it lodged in October.
ICE “places detainers” on illegal immigrants “who have been arrested on local criminal charges and for whom ICE possesses probable cause to believe that they are removable from the U.S., so that ICE can take custody of the alien when he or she is released from local custody,” the ICE’s website stated.
Two days after his release, on Christmas Eve, police said the 18-year-old was gunned down and killed. Eyewitnesses told police they saw two Hispanic males fleeing the scene. The suspects have not been identified or found. Investigators said Herrera was targeted but a motive is unknown.
Montgomery County has claimed it was not a sanctuary county. However, ICE argued they have specific examples of the county not cooperating when it comes to surrendering illegal immigrants who have been accused of a crime.
Sources told WJLA Herrera was vulnerable to being a part of a gang after he was expelled from his high school and booted from his uncle’s residence. The source described the alleged gang member as a “sad beaten puppy” who had “trouble making eye contact.”
The government of Montgomery County has not immediately commented on ICE’s claim.