Inept Law Enforcement: A Tale of Two Illegal-Alien Murderers

By David North on November 5, 2010

ICE, like other government agencies, typically issues press releases when it wants the world to know about its accomplishments. (I know, I used to write such material for the U.S. Department of the Interior.)

The apparent narrative, in this instance, is that ICE found two illegal aliens accused of murder in their home countries, and deported them. So far, so good.

But if you dig a little deeper into available public records, the story is less flattering to the law enforcement community. Let's open with what ICE had to say.

A November 3 ICE press release bearing a Big Spring, Texas, dateline, tells of Jose Pilar Carrillo-Aguirre, 45, being deported at the Del Rio port of entry. He is identified as a Mexican national, as a two-time illegal entrant, and is charged with murder in the State of Michoacan in central Mexico. The document is headed: "ICE deports accused murderer to Mexico."

A few days earlier I saw a similar ICE press release saying: "ICE arrests international fugitive residing in Miami, wanted for murder." That one involved Pedro Escobar, 37, (not to be confused with the late Pablo Escobar, the Columbian drug lord) an illegal alien from Honduras, wanted for murder in his homeland.

Sounds like 2-0 for the home team, doesn't it?

Yes, but only if you firmly believe in the old all's-well-that-ends-well theory.

In the case of Carrillo-Aguirre, according to the ICE release, he was "processed as a convicted alien and deported in February 2003 via El Paso."

It continued: "Carrillo-Aguirre was again encountered after he had illegally re-entered the United States on March 15, 2006 at or near Laredo, Texas." Since illegal entry after deportation (unless one has the blessing of the Attorney General) is a felony, the authorities sent him to the federal penitentiary jail in 2008.

Meanwhile, the alleged murder had taken place some days before he reached Laredo, and the Mexican police had issued an arrest warrant for him a little later in March 2006. He apparently was at large in the U.S. for a year or so before being picked up.

So here we have a prisoner in a federal jail, both a murderer and a Mexican national, but there is a serious non-connection of dots. Did our Bureau of Prisons (BOP) get on the phone to the police in Mexico and say, here is our computerized list of Mexican nationals we have in custody – do you want any of them?

Did the cops in Mexico do what anyone with a computer anywhere in the world can do, which is to check the readily available list of federal prisoners to see if Carrillo-Aguirre was in a federal pen? (If you have killed someone in Mexico one of your logical strategies would be to flee to the U.S., legally or illegally.)

The answer to both of these questions is either no, or not very quickly.

To test the system, as I just did, go to the federal prisoner-locator website and type in the alien's full name, making sure to get all the double letters in the right places. You can add, from the press release, that the prisoner is male and 45 years old. Since the term "Hispanic" is not used by the BOP in this setting, let the computer know that the culprit is white.

Bingo! You will find, as I did, that the prisoner was released on 10-22-2010, released apparently to the Mexican authorities.

If you and I can do this, probably the Mexican police can do it, too.

The handy-dandy list of prisoners has been in place for years. Meanwhile ICE (though a technique not discussed in the press release) did not learn that this prisoner was wanted in Mexico until September 2, 2010, nearly two full years after he had been convicted in the Western District of Texas for entering the U.S. illegally after deportation.

So, thanks to this slippage, we housed him in our prisons for two years, at our expense, when that cost could have been handled by Mexico.

There may have been an earlier error by American authorities. As I scanned PACER, the federal courts' records system, I found the remnants of two federal records for criminal activity of someone with exactly the same name, in Texas, in 1993 and in 1995. In one case he was charged with "marihuana" (that's how the court spelled it) distribution, and the other with an immigration law violation. Since that record does not indicate deportation, and since the ICE press release notes the 2003 deportation as the first one, I assume that Carrillo-Aguirre wiggled out of the two 1990s charges without being deported. (Or maybe there are two completely different people with the identical string of four names, both criminally active in the same state.)

Federal court records in the last decade or so are more complete, and perhaps more open, than those of the 1990s. If you use PACER, the courts record system, and are willing to pay eight cents a page, look up these two cases at: 2:1993cr00010 and 2:1993cr00028, both in the West Texas U.S. District Court (txwdc), for more on this illegal alien's adventures with the courts in the 1990s.

To summarize: 1) the Mexican authorities goofed by not checking their wanted murderers' list with the easily accessible list of prisoners in the American prison system; 2) similarly, both BOP and ICE failed to check their list of prisoners with the wanted lists in Mexico; and, perhaps, 3) American authorities may have failed to deport Carrillo-Aguirre when they should have in the 1990s.

This list of errors is overshadowed, however, by the mistakes – all American – in the case of the other illegal alien murderer, Pedro Escobar.

Escobar was first removed from San Antonio, Texas, in 1994; the second time he was apprehended in December 1997 and was removed from Laredo in 1999. He was caught again in the U.S. (the location is not noted) in 2003 and was deported again. On May 1, 2008, he was arrested for illegally entering after deportation and removed again from Miami on May 9, 2008.

At this point he had been deported four times and, apparently, unlike Carrillo-Aguirre, had never been sent to prison, though he clearly qualified for it at least three times.

Somewhere along the way he allegedly killed someone in Honduras, but by October 28 of this year he was back in Miami ("at his residence" there according to ICE) and is again facing deportation.

Why this illegal alien was never put in prison was not explained by ICE. Perhaps if he had been, someone in Honduras – now dead – would be alive today.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has too much to do, too small a staff to do it, and it operates without the enthusiastic support of either the White House or the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Similarly, too few resources have been given to the U.S. Attorneys who prosecute immigration law violations.

But if these two cases – both involving murderers – represent the kinds of operations that ICE is proud of, I am not sure I would like to know more about the ones that do not warrant press releases.