Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Illegal crack dealer arrested five times in San Francisco, feds were never told

How bad are sanctuary laws? Marco Martinez is a 26-year-old illegal immigrant from El Salvador who has been arrested by San Francisco police five times in the past 18 months for selling crack cocaine. Until last month, he was never turned over to the federal government.

When he was arrested, he was booked, but posted bail so quickly, a background check was never run. This July, Martinez pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his first three arrests in exchange for prosecutors dismissing the fourth case. But within two weeks, Martinez was arrested a fifth time.

A judge ordered him to stay in jail, and the next day the Sheriff's Department notified U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents that Martinez was in their custody. ICE officials have confirmed that he was in the country illegally and have put a hold on him - before the sheriff can release him again, the feds have 24 hours to take him into custody and to start deportation proceedings.

There’s nothing in San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinance or in the Police Department's general orders that precludes officers from alerting the feds when they've arrested illegal immigrants.

But retired police Captain Tim Hettrich said it was 'common knowledge' throughout the department that 'you were not to do anything with ICE or immigration and illegals whether or not they committed a crime - even to arrest them - because there will be the perception we are harassing illegals.'

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