Repeat felon and illegal alien Edgar Vargas Arzate had been set free twice in the past year from the Orange County jail despite Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers seeking to transfer custody to ICE. Now Arzate is embroiled in a high-profile criminal case from another incident, which will keep him in the country while proceedings take place.
Arzate became a point of attention when home video surveillance was released showing his apprehension on June 19. Local resident Socorro Acosta told the Orange County Register that she called police when her son heard someone move from their porch to the backyard and then try to open a window. Acosta described the individual as looking like he was on drugs.
Police responded to Acosta’s call. More calls then reportedly came in of a man running through backyards and over roofs. Arzate’s mother later told the Register that she believes her son, a methamphetamine-addict, was high and ran due to paranoia.
Police caught up with Arzate not far from his residence. The arrest involved a number of Santa Ana police officers that used force to take custody of Arzate while home surveillance recorded the heated circumstances of his arrest. Police are shown in the surveillance video struggling with Arzate, punching him and seemingly striking him with a baton. Arzate’s actions on the ground while police attempt to arrest him are not clear from the video. A July 26 Associated Press report that noted the incident is being internally investigated according to a police department spokesperson.
Arzate was charged with attempted burglary, battery of a police officer, resisting arrest and tampering with a vehicle according to the AP. Jail records record his release from custody as July 26. He was then expected to appear in court for proceedings regarding criminal charges from that night. However, ICE officers reportedly picked him up en route to the proceedings.
ICE officials released the following statement to Breitbart News regarding Arzate: “Mr. Vargas[Arzate] was targeted for arrest Aug. 18 by officers assigned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Criminal Alien Program based solely upon his case history, which includes two prior deportations and multiple felony convictions.”
Currently, it is not clear why ICE detainers did not result in release of Edgar Vargas Arzate to ICE when he was twice released from the Orange County Jail. According to ICE officials, “Twice in the last year, once in April and most recently in June, Mr. Vargas was incarcerated in the Orange County Jail and ICE sought to take custody of him prior to his release. However, in each instance, local authorities failed to honor ICE’s detainers and released him onto the street.”
ICE officials report: “At the time of Monday’s arrest, ICE officers were unaware of Mr. Vargas’ involvement in a high-profile investigation. Once ICE became aware of the matter, the agency elected to place Mr. Vargas in immigration proceedings, rather than reinstating his prior removal order and repatriating him to Mexico immediately. The action will afford Mr. Vargas and his legal representatives additional time to pursue his case in immigration court and address the other outstanding issues stemming from his recent criminal arrest.”
Breitbart News attempted to contact Corporal Anthony Bertagna, spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department; however, he was not immediately available for comment.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana