SEATTLE, Wash. – Seattle is now locked in a battle between protecting their community members from violence and maintaining their sanctuary status.
For the second time in two weeks, police have discovered the bodies of residents viciously murdered by non-citizens involved with notorious gangs like MS-13.
But even though they’re being plagued with a string of brutal attacks, officials still are on the fence about cooperating with ICE.
The latest murder accuses MS-13 member Carlos Orlando Iraheta-Vega of viciously attacking and murdering his 16-year-old friend with a baseball bat. Then prosecutors say Iraheta-Vega and another man then used a machete on the boy, hacking at his neck and even going so far as to chop off his arm and his leg.
Iraheta-Vega goes by the nickname “Joker” and has a long list of run-ins with King County law enforcement. He admitted to 16-year-old Juan Carlos along with a cohort named “Inferno”. The two said that it began as a fight that they arranged, but then in the heat of the moment, the men decided to kill him.
The victim’s arm and leg were found completely detached and lying away from his body.
“The defendants beat the victim with a baseball bat and mercilessly chopped his neck repeatedly with a machete before dismembering the body,” prosecutor Mary H. Barbosa said in court. “The extraordinary brutality of this crime demonstrates the threat the defendants pose to the community.”
Members of ICE say that if the city leaders hadn’t directed local authorities not to work with them, Iraheta-Vega could have been safely removed from the community back in last November after he was arrested for a different crime.
But instead, he’s continued to escape justice, being freed back into the community instead of turned over to federal officials in the name of providing ‘sanctuary’ to undocumented immigrants.
ICE is blaming the sanctuary policy in Seattle for facilitating the murder…. https://t.co/642hrQsl3D
— David J Harris Jr (@DavidJHarrisJr) October 12, 2019
The vicious murder comes just a week after Carlos Daniel Carillo-Lopez was arrested in connection with murdering his girlfriend with a group of other gang members after she allegedly posed in a picture showing a rival gang’s hand signals.
ICE officials say that their situation with Carillo-Lopez is the same as Iraheta-Vega, because if King County authorities had worked with them to keep the community safe, both men wouldn’t have been around to commit such heinous acts.
The Washington Times reported that both Carillo-Lopez and Iraheta-Vega came into the country under the guise of being unaccompanied minors, a policy that was created to help those in need get shelter. But officials say the statute has been widely abused, with those wishing to cross using children to get there or pretending to be minors themselves.
Officials say that once the men were inside the U.S., they were quickly recruited by the transnational gangs, which reportedly rely heavily on teens in that exact situation to bolster their numbers.
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While these gang members are often picked up for crimes by local authorities, they are usually released right back into the community, managing to boost their criminal records while continuing to evade federal punishment.
ICE spokesperson Tanya Roman made a statement regarding the severity of the situation.
“This scenario, where sanctuary policies shield criminal aliens who prey on people in the community from immigration enforcement, is becoming all too common,” said Roman. “As Iraheta-Vega’s crimes increased in severity, local officials chose to release him, time and time again, without notification to ICE, a simple process that could have potentially prevented this crime.”
— Jessica Vaughan (@JessicaV_CIS) October 15, 2019
ICE noted that it had placed detainers on the suspects prior, but they were ignored by local law enforcement at the direction of city leaders.
Community members are asking how long this will continue to go on before the line is drawn.
“How many more people have to die before sanctuary leaders admit that it is a huge public safety mistake to defy ICE detainers, and reverse their policies?” Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies said.
And even though they’ve been dealing with these horrific crimes, the city still isn’t ready to say that enough is enough.
King County Executive Dow Constantine slammed the federal agency, saying ICE was using the case “to sow fear and division for political gain.”
ICE fired back, saying that “King County’s willful refusal of ICE warrants only protects those who harm the community.”
Will the slaughter lead to change? Or will we be publishing about another horrific murder in the next few days?