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Montgomery County Gave ICE A 15 Minute Heads Up Before Releasing Alleged Child Abuser, Agency Says

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged a detainer for Luis Fredy Hernandez-Morales, an illegal alien arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl. 
  • ICE says that authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland, did not honor the detainer request, and warned them just 15 minutes before releasing Hernandez-Morales. 
  • Days earlier, the county announced it was rolling back its sanctuary policy and allowing ICE limited access to its jail, but the agency said the quick release of Hernandez-Morales suggests this is not the case. 

Authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland gave Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a 15-minute warning before releasing an illegal alien accused of sexually abusing a child, according to ICE.

Luis Fredy Hernandez-Morales, a 48-year-old illegal alien from Guatemala, was arrested in late October for allegedly sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl. Despite an earlier declaration from the county executive that he would be rolling back a sanctuary policy he signed into law, authorities at the Montgomery County Detention Center gave ICE virtually no warning before releasing Hernandez-Morales from their custody earlier this month.

“[Enforcement and Removal Operations] Baltimore records show that at approximately 6:00pm on Nov. 6, [Montgomery County Detention Center] notified the ERO Baltimore duty officer of Hernandez’s impending release. The duty officer called MCDC within 15 minutes to gather more information on Hernandez only to be told Hernandez had already been released,” ICE said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

ICE agents in Maryland hoping to make an apprehension at the Montgomery County Detention Center must travel from their Baltimore office. The drive can take roughly 45 minutes under light traffic conditions, or well over an hour during rush hour.

ICE officers detain a suspect as they conduct a targeted enforcement operation in Los Angeles

ICE officers detain a suspect during an operation in Los Angeles (Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via REUTERS)

Hernandez-Morales was first arrested on Oct. 29 in Fairfax, Virginia on charges that he sexually abused an 11-year-old girl. The young girl allegedly woke up in her bed one day to him kissing her with his pants off. On another occasion, Hernandez-Morales allegedly kissed her again and asked if she cared to see his genitalia.

Following his arrest, he was extradited to the Montgomery County Detention Center, which is located in Rockville, Maryland. A district court judge issued Hernandez-Morales a $20,000 bond, and he was able to be set free hours later after posting 10% of the money. Montgomery County did not honor the ICE detainer lodged for Hernandez-Morales, and called the agency just minutes before he was released back into the community.

The leader of ICE’s Baltimore office hammered Montgomery County for the impossible window of time.

“You need to give us a fair chance to get down there,” Frank Madrigal, the acting Director of ICE’s Baltimore Field Office, said to ABC7 News on Friday. “I assure you, we’re going to do everything we can to respond to a facility whether it’s in Hagerstown, Maryland, or Rockville, Maryland, or Ocean City, Maryland.”

ICE agents were ultimately able to apprehend Hernandez-Morales themselves on Friday.

The entire incident appears at odds with what Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said just days ago, when he pledged to allow more cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

ICE Homeland Security Investigations Agents stand outside Danny's Family Car Wash during a raid in Phoenix

ICE Homeland Security Investigations Agents REUTERS/Joshua Lott

In the wake of a string of rapes and sexual abuse allegations against illegal aliens in the community, Elrich, a Democrat, said that ICE agents will be allowed to access certain areas of the Montgomery County jail in order to apprehend illegal aliens. A county spokesman confirmed that correctional officers have been ordered to give agents clearance to enter “identified areas” of the jail to conduct safe apprehensions.

In the case of Hernandez-Morales’ release, a spokesman said the county did nothing wrong.

“The county is following the notification procedures we have stated on numerous occasions. Once [Department of Correction and Rehabilitation] receives notice that an individual is eligible for release, we begin the process. There is no set time on how long that process takes,” county spokesman Barry Hudson said in a statement released Friday evening. (RELATED: ‘Absurd, Insulting’: Immigration Experts Skewer Sanctuary County Leader For Pushing False Info Following Violent Rapes)

“We have a no-detainer policy, so when individuals are finished processing for release, we follow the decision of the Attorney General that we can’t hold an individual, for any reason, once they have been cleared for release. That is what happened in this case,” Hudson continued.

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