RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — An illegal immigrant from Mexico convicted of committing a child sex crime is back in custody after being released by the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, according to a release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
According to ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox, Furmencio Miranda-Cortazar, 45, was arrested last Saturday “during a targeted enforcement operation in Wake County…nearly three months after the Wake County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor an ICE detainer, and instead released Mr. Miranda-Cortez from local criminal custody following his conviction for sexual battery against a child less than 13 years of age.”
Cortazar “was initially arrested in July 2018 for first-degree sex offense against a child and felony indecent liberties with a child less than 13 years of age. At the time, ICE identified Mr. Miranda-Cortazar through the Wake County 287g program, which has since been disbanded by the current sheriff, and lodged an immigration detainer against him,” Cox said in the release.
North Carolina Sex Offender Registry records show that Cortazar committed the offense on Oct. 1, 2007. The registry shows the conviction date as June 26. It also shows that he was released the same day.
The sheriff’s office “refused to honor the ICE detainer and instead released him back into the community,” Cox said.
Cortazar is now in ICE custody and will appear in federal immigration court as part of the removal process, according to Cox.
Cox said in the release that as of last month, local authorities in North Carolina had refused to honor nearly 500 detainers for foreign nationals during Fiscal Year 2019.
The release goes on to state that, “Of the 489 detainers refused, those aliens accounted for 1,020 criminal charges and 407 convictions for offenses that include assaults, burglary, sex offenses, DUI, and homicide.”
In response, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement:
“Mr. Miranda-Cortazar was in the custody of the Wake County Detention Center for over a year with the full knowledge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It is important to note that ICE failed to secure an arrest warrant during this time and Mr. Miranda-Cortazar was released by the Wake County Superior Court with credit for time served. Sheriff Baker has continued to stand by his position on 287 (g).”