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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Montgomery County defies ICE, releases accused rapist

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Maryland’s Montgomery County last month defied ICE’s request and released a man accused of rape from custody, the agency said Monday.

County police arrested Rene Atilio Ramos-Hernandez on the rape warrant June 18 and a day later, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement lodged a detainer request both asking to be notified if he was going to be released, and asking the county to hold him until he could be picked up.

Instead he was released June 23.

ICE said the Montgomery County Detention Center did call to notify ICE, but only just as it was releasing the man.

“When they refuse to give adequate notification of an impending release to allow a safe transfer of custody, it shows their actions are insincere,” said Francisco Madrigal, acting director of ICE’s Baltimore field office.

The county detention center didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday morning.

Last year the county adopted a strict sanctuary policy prohibiting ICE from accessing its jail, effectively forcing deportation officers to have to pick up targets after they’d been released.

That policy came under scrutiny after the county released an illegal immigrant charged with rape. The county said it gave ICE hours of advance notice. ICE countered that the message was left on the phone of an off-duty officer.

County Executive Marc Elrich at the time defended the policy, saying the Baltimore field office was close enough that if ICE wanted someone, it should make it a point to show up.

“The idea that they can’t get here is ludicrous,” he said last summer.

According to court records, a warrant was issued for Mr. Ramos-Hernandez in 2018 covering charges of sexual abuse of a minor and two counts of second-degree rape. The date of all three offenses is listed as sometime in the year 2002.

Mr. Ramos-Hernandez has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 14.

According to the court records he was released on a $30,000 bond.


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