U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials helped an illegal immigrant thief escape across the border. They literally escorted him across the border after flying him to El Paso on your dime. All to escape the 12 years in prison he was facing.
And the Jefferson County District Attorney is fed up. And you should be too. If you're not furious, you're not paying attention or you don't support the rule of law. Like Progressives.
And the perps sister, who put up her house for the bond, won't even loose that house (even though it was used to circumvent justice) because stupid open-borders Colorado passed a law that prevents forfeiture when suspects leave the country. Gee, I wonder why they would do that? Nearly 100% of country skipping perps are illegal aliens so they just hop back across the border and their relatives don't have to forfeit the bond. This is outrageous. Coloradans, what the hell are you thinking??
An illegal immigrant charged with stealing an 81-year-old Wheat Ridge man's trailer fled the country with unusual accomplices: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
"They are complicit in his escape from justice," Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey said Wednesday of the federal agency's role in helping Damacio Torres- Ochoa, 33, leave the country.
According to Storey, ICE flew the felony defendant to El Paso, Texas, on Oct. 19 and walked him across the border to freedom.
Storey didn't learn what had happened until Torres-Ochoa failed to appear at a Monday court hearing. He was facing up to 12 years in prison.
"I pretty much have had enough of this," Storey said. "This kind of sticks in our craw."
Other things that contributed to Torres-Ochoa's release included a judge dropping his bond — a loophole created for bail bond companies by the Colorado legislature when illegal immigrants skip bail — and bad communication between federal and state lawmen. Storey vowed to attack each problem.
After he "self-deported," Torres- Ochoa's bail was raised to $250,000 in cash, Storey said.
The case began Feb. 24 after Robert Joseph Wallace, 81, ran outside when he heard someone stealing his trailer. Torres-Ochoa allegedly was towing the trailer away when Wallace shot his alleged accomplice, Alvaro Cardona, 28, in the face, blinding him and causing a serious brain injury.
Wallace was charged in the shooting, and months later, Torres-Ochoa and Cardona were charged with theft from an at-risk victim.
Storey asked for a high bail because Torres-Ochoa was in the country illegally and was considered a flight risk. Bail was set at $100,000. Jefferson County Judge Thomas Vance later dropped the bail to $27,500, Storey said.
Torres-Ochoa's sister put up her house as collateral, and Rosalie Montoya of Reliable Bail Bonds put up the bond on Oct. 4, Storey said. But because ICE had a hold on Torres-Ochoa, ICE picked him up two days later and held him until he was transported to Texas.
ICE initiated deportation against Torres-Ochoa without notifying Jefferson County officials. ICE officials could not be reached for comment.
Wallace pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of attempted reckless manslaughter and illegal discharge of a firearm into an occupied motor vehicle.
Cardona has been deemed incompetent to stand trial.
Although Torres-Ochoa skipped bail, Reliable Bail Bonds likely won't forfeit the bond because the Colorado legislature passed a measure in 2007 in which bond companies were exempt from forfeiture when suspects flee the country.
Three years ago, when the legislature passed the exemption, Storey wrote a letter to county and district presiding judges asking them to make sure that bails were set high in such cases because of the flight risk with illegal immigrants.
Storey spokeswoman Pam Russell said ICE doesn't have enough space to hold offenders indefinitely and routinely deports offenders.
"There is a way around this thing," Storey said.
He said the Jefferson County jail could hold ICE detainees under contract. He has asked jailers to notify him when ICE takes custody of offenders in the future.
"I guarantee you, they don't stay across the border," he said. "They come back under a different identification."