CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A man who was arrested and sent to jail for a domestic violence charge was released from police custody on bond, despite the fact that ICE officials had placed a detainer on him.
Just days later, that same suspect led authorities in a 9-hour standoff – allegedly involving the same victim and the same charges.
Luis Pineda-Ancheta, 37, was identified as the suspect by authorities.
The city is experiencing shifting issues over cooperation with immigration enforcement officials, and this case puts the problem right on display.
WBTV reported that the issue lies with the sheriff – an elected official.
“Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden effectively stopped collaborating with federal authorities on immigration enforcement, including on honoring detainers, following his election in November,” their report from Friday noted.
On Thursday, police attempted to serve Pineda-Ancheta with multiple warrants concerning domestic violence charges. Authorities said that the suspect barricaded himself inside an apartment and refused to come out.
A SWAT team was called in to end the standoff, which lasted a total of 9 hours before police were able to take the suspect into custody.
Pineda-Ancheta’s original charges were listed as assault on a female, communicating threats, felony larceny, simple assault and injury to personal property, according to jail records. ICE put a detainer on him the following day, and he was released from jail one day later, on May 17.
Police say he committed another domestic assault against the same woman on May 21st, which led to the standoff.
So why was Pineda-Ancheta allowed to be released back into the community?
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission,” said Sean Gallagher, an official with ICE.
Immigration officials had warned that the sheriff’s office decision would create a risk for public safety by releasing criminals back on the street. This case proves their warning.
Since McFadden issued his policy of noncooperation with ICE, the sheriff’s office has ignored detainer requests. Prior to McFadden taking office, the county was cooperating with officials, leading to over 15,000 undocumented individuals being entered into deportation proceedings.
Advocates for immigration reform argue that McFadden’s approach creates stronger trust between the public and law enforcement.
Others criticized his motives, referring t0 Mecklenburg as a “safe haven for persons seeking to evade federal authorities.”
Pineda-Ancheta, a native of Honduras, has reportedly been deported from the U.S. before. He now faces additional charges of assault by strangulation, kidnapping, assault on a female, communicating threats and violation of a domestic violence protective order, according to jail records.