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Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office denies ignoring ICE detainer for man facing child porn charges

The Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office is vigorously denying allegations that a man facing child sexual abuse and porn charges was released from the county’s jail last year in defiance of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer.

In a Jan. 8 press release, ICE accused the sheriff’s office of not honoring a criminal detainer for an unnamed “Honduran national” when the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center released him from custody last July. The federal agency said the man subsequently assaulted a deportation officer during a raid on his Springfield home on Jan. 4.

However, the sheriff’s office issued a statement yesterday (Tuesday) stating that ICE’s press release and subsequent news reports based on the release, which was picked up by FOX5, “are blatantly false.” The office says the man was released after paying $3,000 in bonds set by a magistrate.

“In the three hours this individual was in the custody of the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, at no time was an ICE detainer or outstanding warrant provided to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center,” the sheriff’s office said.

According to the sheriff’s office, local law enforcement arrested the man on July 18, 2023 and charged him with carnal knowledge and possessing and manufacturing child pornography. ICE attributed the arrest to the sheriff’s office in its press release, but the arrest was actually made by the Herndon Police Department, an HPD spokesperson confirmed to FFXnow.

Per the sheriff’s office, the man arrived at the county jail at 8:45 p.m. that day.

“At that time a full check to determine the existence of any outstanding detainers or warrants was conducted. None existed,” the sheriff’s office said. “Upon being served with the criminal charges, the magistrate immediately gave this individual a $1,000 bond on each of his three charges.”

The man was released at 11:45 p.m. that day after paying the bond.

The sheriff’s office added that it sent “numerous” calls, emails and text messages to ICE officials attempting “to correct this misinformation,” but they went unanswered. It also says FOX5 reported ICE’s story, even though the sheriff’s office had “provided specific information contradicting their narrative” prior to the article’s publication.

ICE and FOX5 didn’t return requests for comment from FFXnow by press time, though the FOX5 story has been updated with the sheriff’s statement.

“The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office follows all local, state, and federal laws regarding the holding of inmates on outstanding detainers and warrants and routinely works with all public safety agencies to ensure the safety of our community,” the sheriff’s office said in its statement.

The sheriff’s office ended an agreement with ICE on May 28, 2018 that committed it to detaining people in jail past their release date until they’re picked up by immigration authorities. Now, the sheriff requires a detainer indicating that the person is facing criminal charges in addition to an administrative warrant, which reflects only civil immigration law violations.

The county adopted a “Trust Policy” in 2021 formally barring county government employees from sharing information with ICE unless required by law or a court order. Since May 2020, the Fairfax County Police Department has directed officers not to report individuals to ICE based on a civil administrative warrant.

A court hearing in the child porn case was held yesterday and continued to April, according to a Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court clerk.

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