State protects illegal immigrant charged with raping a child, refuses to honor more than 500 other detainers

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, NC- An illegal immigrant has been charged with raping a child and violating a protection order in North Carolina.

Benito Morales Mendez, 39, was brought back to the state for prosecution after he fled to Texas.

Mendez was illegally residing in the US when a complaint was filed accusing him of sexually assaulting a child.

During the investigation, police collected multiple pieces of evidence against Mendez including electronic devices. Police say that Mendez also violated a previously established domestic violence protective order before the warrant was issued.

In an attempt to evade arrest, the fugitive fled to Texas. Mendez’s scheme was short lived thanks to the joint efforts of local law enforcement, the United States Marshals Service, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Within months, police were able to apprehend Mendez and return him to North Carolina where he will await trial.

Cherokee County Sheriff Derrick Palmer spoke about the joint effort by governmental agencies saying:

“As you can see it takes a team effort and one of the reasons we work so closely with our local and Federal partners. Due to the age of the victim we will not be making any further press releases.”

The illegal alien now faces multiple charges that include statutory rape of a child.

Mendez’s bail is set at $500,000 and a detainer has been placed on him by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to ensure he does not flee again. The detainer, which has no set bond, allows ICE to assume custody of Mendez for deportation should he post bail. 

Unfortunately, there is still a possibility that Mendez could flee for a second time. In the past, North Carolina has refused to honor detainers on illegal immigrants due to their multiple sanctuary jurisdictions.

ICE reports that in 2019 North Carolina refused to honor over 500 detainers:

“Across North Carolina, local authorities refused to honor more than 500 detainers for foreign nationals during Fiscal Year 2019. All of these detainer refusals are of persons criminally arrested by a law enforcement agency for a criminal offense beyond their violation of federal immigration law.”

The state’s refusal to cooperate with ICE poses a threat to the safety of North Carolina residents. Especially given the statistics on illegal immigrants that are released after committing crime.

Breitbart reported that during a congressional testimony, an ICE official, Timothy Robbins, reported that up to 80 percent of illegal aliens released by sanctuary jurisdictions go on to commit other crimes. 

Robbins says:

“When aliens walk out the front of the jail that could have been handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for removal proceedings, they have the opportunity to commit additional crimes. What we’ve seen, and depending on the report you look at, anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of those who have committed crimes will re-offend.”

While Mendez is behind bars for now, the possibility of him getting away with his alleged crimes is still present.

Report: Illegal immigrant was freed in New York City 10 times after arrests despite immigration detainers

NEW YORK CITY, NY – Reportedly, an illegal immigrant stemming from the Dominican Republic with a lengthy criminal history has been residing within the New York City area for some time – and has also been arrested and released back into the community ten times over the last two years.

Considering that New York City often disregards policies related to national security in the interest of being known as a sanctuary city, the NYPD has largely ignored immigration detainers for this suspect (and many others as well).

Jhonny Alejandro Soto-Ubaldo was arrested in September of 2020 by U.S. Marshals regarding alleged federal firearm violations.

The suspect is now in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which if he’s ever released then Soto-Ubaldo will be handed over to ICE to handle deportation endeavors.

However, ICE official Tony Pham noted that the agency should have gotten ahold of Soto-Ubaldo years earlier:

“Jhonny Alejandro Soto-Ubaldo is one of many examples of how New York’s sanctuary city policies place the safety of the residents at risk. Their willful uncooperative nature provides criminals such as Soto-Ubaldo the opportunity to re-offend.”

State protects illegal immigrant charged with raping a child, refuses to honor more than 500 other detainers
Jhonny Alejandro Soto-Ubaldo – ICE

ICE official Thomas Decker also commented on the matter, pointing out that New York City ignored ten detainers lodged against Soto-Ubaldo over the past two years:

“What makes this case so frustrating is that local law enforcement failed to honor 10 detainers, despite Soto-Ubaldo’s lengthy criminal history. How can local politicians – in good conscience – say they’re protecting their constituents when they pass laws that release criminals back into our communities?”

Looking back at all the catch-and-release activities that involved the NYPD and Soto-Ubaldo, it’s easy to understand Decker’s frustrations.

His first arrest dates back to June of 2018 in New York City where he was eventually released after a detainer was lodged against him – and the arrests just started piling on from there.

Not even two months after the June 2018 arrest, Soto-Ubaldo was arrested and released again. Soto-Ubaldo also managed to acquire six more arrests between April and October of 2019 – and each time police simply let him go instead of transferring custody to ICE.

In March of 2020, Soto-Ubaldo was arrested for unauthorized use of a vehicle and criminal possession of stolen property.

After getting released on those charges, Soto-Ubaldo was arrested again in May for assault and criminal mischief. Once again, he was released back into society.

All in all, Soto-Ubaldo still has pending charges encompassing assault, harassment, criminal mischief, grand larceny, petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, and criminal possession of a firearm from all these arrests.

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In other immigration related news, the alleged gunman behind an attack on law enforcement in Phoenix, Arizona happens to have been illegally present within the country. 

While authorities are still searching for the second suspect reportedly involved in what was described as the “ambush” style attack against Arizona DPS troopers earlier in September, more details have surfaced regarding the 17-year-old suspect already in custody and said to be the actual shooter.

According to a statement from ICE that was obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies, 17-year-old Luis German Espinoza Acuna is an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

The statement, reportedly coming from ICE Public Affairs Officer Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, reads as follows:

“On Sept. 17, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged an immigration detainer on Luis German Espinoza-Acuna, an unlawfully present citizen from Mexico, following his arrest by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

ICE will seek to take Mr. Espinoza-Acuna into custody if and when he is released by local authorities in order to pursue appropriate administrative enforcement action.”

When Mark Krikorian, who serves as the Executive Director for the Center for Immigration Studies, shared the news of the information delivered by ICE he also noted how there are still outlets who won’t even report on the suspect’s actual name.

Alleged gunman behind Arizona DPS trooper ambush is an illegal immigrant from Mexico
Luis German Espinoza Acuna – Arizona DPS

This comment was in reference to the Arizona Republic’s article that was written on September 18th, which read:

“The boy was ultimately arrested as the driver fled the area. The Arizona Republic is not identifying the teen because he is a minor.”

Luckily, other news outlets did share the name of the suspect after the information became publicly accessible via request.

We at Law Enforcement Today had previously reported on this incident.

Here is that previous report.

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In Phoenix, Arizona, one person has been arrested but another suspect is on the loose regarding what was described as an “ ambush-style shooting” lodged against Arizona DPS troopers on September 17th.

The suspect in custody, described as a 17-year-old male, exited the passenger-side door of a vehicle and used an AK-47 to open fire on a uniformed trooper that was in the area to serve a warrant at around 9:00 a.m. on September 17th.

Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety Col. Heston Silbert stated:

“There was no question, it was an ambush.”

Officials were able to apprehend the alleged gunman as a nearby trooper arrived on the scene of the shooting, with both that trooper and the one opened fire one returning fire on the suspect.

While neither the suspect nor the troopers were injured, the driver of the vehicle that the alleged gunman exited out of fled the scene after fire was returned by troopers.

The suspect’s vehicle was described as a silver 2013 Infiniti model G-37 with custom wheels and a temporary plate.

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