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June 15, 2018New York, NY, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

Honduran national released with active detainer sentenced for assault on ICE officer

NEW YORK – A Honduran national was sentenced June 12 to 364 days in federal custody after pleading guilty to one count of assault on a law enforcement officer in U.S. District Court in White Plains, New York.

Lester Cruz-Garcia, 21, was arrested July 6, 2017, by the Yonkers Police Department and charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation – apply pressure, assault in the second degree: intent to cause physical injury with a weapon, and harassment in the second degree: physical contact. Fingerprint impressions were also taken at that time. Those fingerprints matched ICE records for an alien who had been previously been ordered removed from the U.S. The following day, Cruz-Garcia was arraigned in Yonkers City Court and released on his own recognizance.

On July, 23, 2017, ERO deportation officers in Yonkers, New York, targeted and arrested 21-year-old Cruz-Garcia pursuant to his outstanding warrant of removal. As he was being escorted to an ICE vehicle, Cruz-Garcia began to flail his arms, and kick his legs, before biting the arm of an ERO deportation officer.

On Aug. 10, 2017, ERO deportation officers assigned to the Violent Criminal Alien Section filed a criminal complaint in U.S District Court, charging Cruz-Garcia with one count of 18 USC 111(a)(1), for assaulting, resisting, or impeding a law enforcement officer. Cruz-Garcia was arraigned and subsequently remanded to U.S. Marshals Service custody. On March 8, 2018, Cruz-Garcia pleaded guilty. On June 12, 2018, Cruz-Garcia was sentenced to 364 days in federal custody and will be transferred back to ICE custody at the conclusion of his sentence for removal to Honduras.

"This man assaulted an ICE officer in the process of the arrest and now will face the consequences of his actions,” said Thomas Decker, field office director for ERO New York. “Every time a jurisdiction does not honor a detainer, it places an unnecessary danger to our officers, and this is a prime example of what it may look like to arrest someone on the streets when they could have easily been turned over in a secure facility."

Detainers serve as a legally-authorized request, upon which a law enforcement agency may rely, to continue to maintain custody of an alien for up to 48 hours so that ICE may assume custody for removal purposes. Pursuant to ICE policy, all ICE detainers are submitted with an accompanying administrative arrest warrant or warrant of removal depending upon the circumstances of the individual case.

Sanctuary policies, which have pushed ICE out of jails, force our officers to conduct more enforcement in the community – which poses increased risks for law enforcement and the public. It also increases the likelihood that ICE will encounter other illegal aliens who previously were not on our radar. For ICE, it makes more sense to devote resources to jails to solely focus on criminals, reducing the broader enforcement efforts and allowing the apprehension of individuals with the secure confines of local jails.

Updated: 01/12/2021