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ICE blasts Montgomery Co. for releasing accused felon despite immigration detainer

Mario Granados-Alvarado. (Montgomery County Police Department)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (ABC7) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is lambasting Montgomery County after jailers knowingly released an 19-year-old undocumented immigrant accused of bringing an AR-15 assault-style rifle onto school property, despite an immigration detainer lodged against the teen.

On Saturday, April 29, Mario Granados-Alvarado, 19, a citizen of El Salvador, allegedly broke into a Rockville police car, snagging a shotgun, AR-15 rifle and ammunition from the vehicle's trunk. The unmarked Chevy Impala was parked outside of an off-duty officer's house at the time of the overnight break-in.

On Monday, May 1, a school resource officer assigned to Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, stopped Granados-Alvarado. The 19-year-old, who is enrolled as a junior at the public school, reportedly ran away while shouting, "I scared. I scared." Officers were ultimately able to handcuff Granados-Alvarado and later located the AR-15 in the trunk of a blue Mazda he had been driving.

On Tuesday, May 2, ICE filed an active immigration detainer with the Montgomery County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for Granados-Alvarado. The legal document was cut and dry and customary.

On Wednesday, May 3, Granados-Alvarado posted his $2,000 bond set by a Montgomery County District Court judge. However, instead of abiding by ICE's pending request, Montgomery County officials let the accused criminal walk out of jail and return to the community.

On Thursday, May 4, ICE agents working on their own intel, managed to locate and arrest Granados-Alvarado. He is currently being held at the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup.

On Monday, May 8, ICE issued a pointed press release, taking Montgomery County to task for "frequently" ignoring "legally authorized detainers."

"Keeping people safe means not tolerating the release of aliens that present a clear public safety threat back into our communities," said Dorothy Herrera-Niles, field office director for Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Baltimore. "ICE is committed to fostering positive collaboration with our local law-enforcement partners, and welcomes changes from county officials that would prioritize public safety."

ABC7 contacted Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner, Council Vice President Hans Riemer, Councilman George Leventhal, Councilwoman Nancy Navarro, Chief County Spokesman Patrick Lacefield and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation seeking comment about why the county felt it necessary to disregard the request of a federal agency. As of Monday evening, ABC7 had not received a response.

According to ICE, the U.S. Border Patrol first encountered Granados-Alvarado on March 6, 2014 in the area of Falfurrias, Texas, about 80 miles southwest of Corpus Christi. Agents determined he had traipsed through Mexico before entering the United States illegally. ICE says Granados-Alvarado was issued a notice to appear in immigration court. ICE also reports that the teen has "multiple criminal arrests" on file.

The national debate over illegal immigration has mushroomed since President Donald Trump secured his reign in the White House. Jurisdictions, including Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, have publicly stated they have no interest in cooperating with federal authorities. ICE argues that such behavior puts communities and law-enforcement directly in harm's way. ICE adds that with many undocumented immigrants using aliases and providing false addresses, the task of tracking them down is incredibly costly to taxpayers.

During fiscal year 2016, ICE reports it removed 240,255 undocumented immigrants. Roughly 73 percent were caught at, or close to, U.S. borderlines, while the remaining 27 percent were caught in cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The overwhelming majority of those interior captures, ICE asserts, were convicted criminals.

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