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Illegal Immigrant Suspected Of A Shooting Rival Gang Member Is In Custody, Again

(Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

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An illegal immigrant who was released earlier this year was arrested Aug. 18 in connection with a gang-related shooting in Queens, New York, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Thursday.

Denery Steven Lemus-Najarro, 21, a Guatemalan native and an alleged member of the 18th Street gang, court documents say, according to ICE. Lemus-Najarro was reportedly identified by officers as a suspect in an Aug. 14 incident where a man sustained a gunshot wound to the leg, ICE said.

“It’s important that the citizens of New York City understand that the sanctuary city policies enacted by local politicians jeopardize public safety,” said Thomas R. Decker, director of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations for the New York field office.

Lemus-Najarro was arrested for criminal possession of a firearm in January and has an outstanding removal order, according to ICE. After Lemus-Najarro was arrested in January, he was released from New York Police Department custody under sanctuary city policies, ICE said.

“These policies embolden gang members, such as Lemus-Najarro, to brazenly commit crimes in this city without fear of repercussion,” Decker said in the ICE statement. “It’s unfortunate that the lives and safety of the citizens they have been elected to protect are second to those of the criminal aliens. ICE detainers are an important tool this agency uses to remove violent criminals from our communities.”

Lemus-Najarro was arrested on charges possessing a firearm or ammunition as an illegal immigrant by the FBI’s New York Metro Safe Streets Task Force on Aug. 20, according to ICE. (RELATED: Poll: More Americans Support Reducing Legal Immigration, Majority Support Mandatory E-Verify)

Lemus-Najarro remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial, according to ICE.

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