A convicted sex offender who pleaded guilty to victimizing a pre-teen girl roamed the streets free for nearly a month after Orange County, North Carolina authorities refused to honor a U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer.
On Monday, ICE agents located and arrested Udiel Aguilar-Castellanos, a Mexican national who was allowed to pose a public safety threat to North Carolina due to the county’s refusal to detain him, ICE reports:
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested an unlawfully present Mexican national Monday who is a registered sex offender in Orange County, North Carolina, after the county refused to honor an ICE detainer and instead released him from local custody in June without any notification to ICE.
“Orange County’s refusal to honor ICE’s detainer, or to even notify the agency that it was releasing a convicted sex offender, allowed the subject to pose a public safety threat to North Carolina residents for nearly a month until his capture Monday.”
Local officials not only refused to detain Aguilar-Castellanos, but also failed to inform ICE of the disposition of his case or release. It was only when Aguilar-Castellanos registered as a sex offender that ICE was able to locate and arrest him:
“Mr. Aguilar-Castellanos pleaded guilty June 27 in Orange County to two counts of sexual battery and was required to register as a sex offender as part of his plea agreement. His victim is a pre-teen minor female. That same day, Orange County authorities released him from local custody without notifying ICE – ignoring an immigration detainer filed by ICE in September 2017 when Aguilar-Castellanos was initially charged.
“While ICE attempted to keep track of Mr. Aguilar-Castellanos’s case, local officials did not provide the agency with updates and ICE was therefore unaware of his June 27 release from Orange County custody until he registered with Orange County as a sex offender July 11, which immediately prompted ICE to begin efforts to locate him in the community. Those efforts culminated in the arrest of Mr. Aguilar-Castellanos at his Carrboro residence early Monday.”
Aguilar-Castellanos is now in ICE custody pending his removal from the U.S.