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May 6, 2020Portland, OR, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

Oregon jail releases illegal aliens arrested in possession of illicit drugs, over immigration detainer

PORTLAND - On Tuesday, April 28, an Oregon State Police (OSP) trooper conducted a traffic stop on a Ford F-150 pickup, for multiple traffic violations, on Interstate 5 northbound near milepost 39, according to an OSP press release.

The release states that the trooper observed signs of potential criminal behavior and a search of the vehicle was conducted. During the search the trooper located 19.7 pounds of methamphetamine and $16,660 cash.

The driver of the vehicle was Leonel Campos-Valdez (25), and the passenger was Francisco Vazquez-Cruz (24).

Leonel Campos-Valdez and Francisco Vasquez-Cruz are both citizens of Mexico and in the United States illegally. Both men were charged with unlawful delivery of methamphetamine, laundering a monetary instrument and unlawful possession of methamphetamine and booked into the Jackson County Jail in Medford, Oregon.

On April 29, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) lodged immigration detainers on Campos-Valdez and Vasquez-Cruz with the jail. The Jackson County Jail did not honor the detainers and released both illegal aliens back into the community the same day.

“When criminals who should have been turned over to ICE are instead released into the public, it is a great injustice to the people in which law enforcement is sworn to protect,” said Michael Melendez, acting field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations – Seattle. “As law enforcement officers we have an obligation to protect those in our community, and that includes using every resources within our power, such as immigration detainers, to keep criminals who endanger the public, like these two, off our streets.”

Immigration records reveal that the U.S. Border Patrol previously removed Vasquez-Cruz from the U.S. to Mexico on Jan. 30, 2016, via the Calexico, California port of entry.

Immigration records reveal that on Feb. 21, 2014, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested Campos-Valdez near Why, Arizona. On Feb. 24, 2014, Campos-Valdez was convicted of illegal entry into the U.S. and sentenced to time served. He was issued an expedited removal order and removed to Mexico near the San Luis, Arizona port of entry the same day. Campos-Valdez illegally reentered the U.S. on an unknown date and location.

Any local jurisdiction thinking that refusing to cooperate with ICE will result in a decrease in local immigration enforcement is mistaken. Local jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE are likely to see an increase in ICE enforcement activity, as in jurisdictions that do not cooperate with ICE the agency has no choice but to conduct more at-large targeted enforcement actions. A consequence of ICE being forced to make more arrests on the streets is the agency is likely to encounter other unlawfully present foreign nationals that wouldn’t have been encountered had we been allowed to take custody of a criminal target within the confines of a local jail.

Aliens processed for removal may receive their legal due process from federal immigration judges in the immigration courts, which are administered by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice and is separate from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and ICE.

Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case. ICE officers carry out the removal decisions made by the federal immigration judges. For more information on EOIR, visit:

Campos Valdez and Vasquez-Cruz are ICE fugitives subject to criminal prosecution for illegally reentering the United States in violation of 8 USC 1326.

Updated: 11/19/2020