A Tulare County man who went on a violent crime spree, killing one man and injuring several others, was arrested three days before he went on a rampage. But law enforcement says he was released because it was only a misdemeanor charge.
The sheriff is blaming California’s new sanctuary law, saying they had him in custody but had to release him.
According to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Gustavo Garcia, 36, was arrested on Thursday on Road 128 and Miller in Orosi.
A caller told police Garcia was acting strange in public and police determined Garcia was under the influence of a controlled substance.
On Friday, just hours before Garcia was set to be released, Immigration Customs and Enforcement issued detainer on Garcia but Tulare County Sheriff’s Office let Garcia go.
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, he’s frustrated with this situation.
Boudreaux said SB 54, the state’s sanctuary law prevents local law enforcement from working with federal agencies when it comes to immigration holds.
“The state law is missing a component and that component is us working together with our immigration enforcement and customs agency, that tool has been removed,” Boudreaux said.
According to ICE, Garcia was deported from the U.S. twice, once in 2004 and in 2014.
Garcia did spend 27 months in federal prison for re-entering the country before being deported again in 2014.
“This deadly rampage could have been prevented if ICE had been notified of his release. This is an unfortunate and extremely tragic example of how public safety is impacted with laws or policies limiting local law enforcement agencies ability to cooperate with ICE,” an ICE spokesperson said.
Boudreaux said before SB 54 Garcia would have been turned over to ICE officials but with this new state law, the sheriff’s office must have a federally signed warrant in order to do that.
“We as law enforcement here in Tulare County, we did not recognize or honor that detainer because the law says we can not. That tool has been removed from our hands and because of that our county was shot up by a violent criminal,” he said.