CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Honduran man accused of sexually assaulting a minor in Charlotte was in federal court Friday on a new charge of cutting off an ankle monitor.
This comes after ICE officials warned that the city could become a haven for criminals who are trying to evade deportation. They said Oscar Pacheco was in the country illegally.
Pacheco went before a federal magistrate Friday morning, accused of cutting off an ankle monitor placed on him by Border Patrol agents when he crossed over into the United States years ago.
Prosecutors argued that Pacheco should not have bond because of the pending ICE detainer on him and the defense agreed.
Back in June, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department arrested Pacheco and charged him with sex crimes against a child. He walked out of the Mecklenburg County Detention Center on bail, despite ICE agents' request to hold him.
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It took ICE nearly two months before they were able to find Pacheco and take him into custody on Aug. 3.
"They know if they're arrested, they're not gonna be handed over to ICE," ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said.
That's not the best message the Sheriff's Office is sending to the public, he said.
Pacheco was deported in 2006 and illegally reentered the U.S. again 10 years later in 2016 with a child, officials said.
Officials said because of the child, he was allowed to enter the country but was assigned to wear an ankle monitor. It is unclear why he came with the child or if the child belonged to him.
This week, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said immigrants bringing children to the border intentionally, hoping to get in, is fueling the crisis at the border.
"Human smugglers advertise and migrants know well that even if they cross illegally, arriving with a child means they will be released into the United States to wait for court proceedings that could take five years or more," McAleenan said.
After he entered the U.S., he then took indecent liberties with a minor under the age of 16 and sexually assaulted a minor under the age of 13, according to warrants.
ICE said it issued a detainer after his arrest and asked Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden to hold Pacheco.
Federal officials said McFadden has refused to honor those detainers since last year.
"If you're not gonna honor the detainer, simply call us and tell us you're releasing a violent offender back onto the streets," Cox said.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray called out McFadden for the controversial practice after Luis Pineda-Anchecta, a dangerous domestic violence suspect, was released from jail twice.
ICE requested to hold him, as well.
"These people met the condition of their bond and were released by law," McFadden said.
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He stands by his practice and said ICE could have taken out a warrant for Pacheco's arrest since he reentered the country illegally.
"Knowing they could have sent a warrant, they still sent a detainer," McFadden said.
ICE said McFadden's latest comments are false and the agency cannot federally charge someone.
That decision is up to the U.S. attorney's office.
After agents arrested Pacheco on Aug. 3, he was taken to an ICE facility in Georgia.
But, as ICE looked into deporting him, federal documents showed he was indicted by the U.S. Attorney accused of cutting off his ankle monitor and violating supervised release.
Officials told Channel 9's Tina Terry the U.S. Marshals took him out of ICE custody after those federal charges were filed.
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