NJ jail frees suspected child rapist despite immigration lock-up request
Federal immigration authorities are looking for three men who have been charged with violent crimes but were released from jails in New Jersey despite ICE requests that they remained locked up until federal authorities could take them into custody.
One of the men — Luciano Trejo-Dominguez, a 33-year-old cook from Bridgeton — was charged with raping a teen who was younger than 16.
Trejo-Dominguez was arrested Aug. 12 by Vineland police on the charges, which also included criminal restraint, criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said its office in Mount Laurel as well as the Pacific Enforcement Response Center filed detainers with the Cumberland County Jail, which did not honor the request and released the Mexican national from custody on Aug. 23.
Since last year, law enforcement authorities and jails in the state have been limited in how they cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Under a policy enacted by the Murphy administration last fall, jails are prohibited from holding detained inmates for minor criminal offenses past the time that they would otherwise have to be released. Jails are not allowed to inform ICE about when the individuals will be released.
But for inmates charged with murder, rape, arson, assault, bias crimes and domestic violence, jails can notify ICE about an upcoming release but may not detain them longer than 11:59 p.m. on the day of their scheduled release.
ICE has criticized New Jersey's Immigrant Trust Directive. On Thursday, a statement by ICE said that "when law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission."
Ocean County's all-Republican Board of Feeholders is challenging the state policy's constitutionality in federal court. On Tuesday, the Toms River Township Council joined 10 other municipalities in passing a resolution supporting the lawsuit.
Other accused criminals who ICE are seeking to arrest include 33-year-old Edgar Camarillo-Ruiz, a Mexican national who was arrested by New Brunswick police on Aug. 18 on charges of domestic violence and simple assault. ICE lodged a detainer for Camarillo-Ruiz on Aug. 19, but the Middlesex County jail released him, ICE said.
ICE also is looking for 38-year-old Elvis Rafael Cabrera-Vasquez, a janitor who was arrested Dec. 24 by Perth Amboy police on domestic violence simple assault charges. The Middlesex County Jail released Cabrera-Vasquez, a Dominican national, who was arrested again in Perth Amboy on Feb. 14 on charges of violating a restraining order.
This week, ICE officials in New Jersey arrested 54 people suspected of being in the country illegally.
They included 21 from Mexico, nine from El Salvador, seven from Brazil, four from Honduras, three each from Dominican Republic and Guatemala, two from Ecuador, and one each from Jamaica, Guyana, Costa Rica, Georgia and Pakistan.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.