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August 27, 2020New York, NY, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

Suspected gang member shoots rival after release from local custody

NEW YORK – Denery Steven Lemus-Najarro, 21, is in federal custody following his Aug. 18, arrest by the New York Police Department. The unlawfully present Guatemalan citizen was charged due to his involvement in a gang-related shooting in Queens, New York.

"It's important that the citizens of New York City understand that the sanctuary city policies enacted by local politicians jeopardize public safety," said Thomas R. Decker, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) New York field office director. "These policies embolden gang members, such as Lemus-Najarro, to brazenly commit crimes in this city without fear of repercussion. It's unfortunate that the lives and safety of the citizens they have been elected to protect are second to those of the criminal aliens. ICE detainers are an important tool this agency uses to remove violent criminals from our communities."

According to public court documents, Lemus-Najarro, is an alleged 18th Street gang member who has an outstanding removal order. Law enforcement officers identified Lemus-Najarro as the suspect in the Aug. 14 shooting in Queens. The incident left one man with a gunshot wound to the leg.

In January, NYPD arrested Lemus-Najarro on criminal possession of a firearm charges. Following the subject's arrest, ERO officers lodged a detainer with NYPD. The detainer was not honored and Lemus-Najarro was released from custody and back into the community.

On Aug. 20, the FBI's New York Metro Safe Streets Task Force arrested Lemus-Najarro on illegal alien in possession of a firearm or ammunition charges. He is currently detained in U.S. Marshals Service custody pending trial.

About detainers

ICE relies on the exchange of information with its law enforcement agency partners to access foreign-born inmates at local, state, and federal facilities, and the use of detainers as part of its public safety mission. In many cases, these individuals pose a demonstrable threat to communities.

By lodging detainers against those individuals, ICE makes every effort to ensure that removable aliens are turned over to ICE custody at the conclusion of their criminal detention rather than being released into the community where many abscond or reoffend.