DENVER — The Denver Sheriff’s Department has said it is investigating why immigration authorities weren’t notified of the release of a jail inmate until about an hour after he had already left.
Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda of Mexico, 26, is charged with vehicular homicide in a hit-and-run crash that killed truck driver John Anderson, 57, on Interstate 70 on March 3. He was released from Denver’s jail at 5:28 p.m. Saturday after posting $25,000 bond but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not notified until 6:33 p.m., the sheriff’s department said.
“This is unacceptable and the Sheriff has ordered an immediate internal review to determine why established notification processes did not take place before Zamarripa-Castaneda was released,” the department said Sunday in a statement.
In a statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Denver Field Office Director Jeffrey D. Lynch said the agency was notified Saturday that Zamarripa-Castaneda would be released at an unspecified time.
He said deportation officers arrived at the jail less than two hours later to take him into custody and discovered he had already been released. The agency now considers Zamarripa-Castaneda an “immigration fugitive.”
Lynch said that the agency was working with the sheriff’s department to determine what happened to try to prevent similar situations from happening again.
“As law enforcement professionals, we should all have the same ultimate goal in mind — to protect the public by combating criminals. ICE helps fulfill that role by removing criminal aliens from the streets, and from the United States,” he said.
The incident happened a year after U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions criticized Denver’s jail for giving immigration officials 25 minutes’ notice before releasing an auto theft suspect, Ever Valles, they had expressed an interest in. He was involved in a fatal robbery several months later and was sentenced Friday to 29 years in prison.
The immigration agency requests jails hold inmates that agents are interested in in until they can arrive to detain them.
But Denver and other jurisdictions have said they cannot legally hold inmates after they post bond unless immigration agents obtain arrest warrants.