On February 7, Tim Cruz, 32, was robbed and murdered at the Denver Sheridan light rail train station — and his assailant had been flagged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE now says their procedures for keeping watch on potentially criminal illegal immigrants were not honored by Denver law enforcement.
Ever Valles, a 19-year-old Mexican citizen, and Nathan Valdez, 19, are in custody on robbery and murder charges after being identified from surveillance footage.
Fox 31 Denver reports that a few weeks earlier, Valles was in custody of the Denver Sheriff for car theft and other charges. ICE had placed a hold, or detainer, on Valles, stating they wanted to be notified of any pending release. He was considered a priority for immigration enforcement because he was known to be a gang member with a documented history in the law enforcement database.
Despite this characterization, Valles was released from Denver county custody in December 2016, with this attack occurring on February 7th — and barely gave ICE any notice.
ICE official’s claim they were only given a 25-30 minute warning before Valles was released by the sheriff, which was not long enough for them to act. In a report on the incident, ICE says Denver did not live up to its responsibilities by not giving enough time between notifying them of Valles’s planned release and allowing him back on to the streets:
‘The detainer wasnt honored and he was released by the jail without prior notification.”
The Denver Sheriff’s Department issued a statement Tuesday stating it has “no legal ability” to hold a person without a warrant.
Denver has never, and will never, condone dangerous or violent individuals being on our streets, immigrants or not. However, detaining anyone without a criminal warrant is a violation of the 4th Amendment.”
“Once individuals in Denver’s jails post a bond, the Sheriff Department has no legal ability to hold them without a warrant, as was the case with Ever Valles…The circumstances of this case painfully illustrate the difficult and separate responsibilities of local safety officials and federal immigration authorities.
The statement concluded by saying Denver is committed to creating “a system where federal and local governments respect each other’s responsibilities and work together to close the gaps.”
Earlier this month, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock embraced his city’s title as a sanctuary city.
Photo: Denver Sheriff’s Office