An illegal immigrant from El Salvador convicted of weapons charges was arrested last month after Maryland authorities kept releasing him back onto the street because of sanctuary policies, despite his criminal history, immigration officials said. 

The unidentified man, age 24, who is an alleged gang member, was taken into federal custody on Jan. 10 in Silver Spring, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. 

He was most recently convicted of illegal possession of an unregistered gun in September 2022, and sentenced to five years in prison. However, the Montgomery County Circuit Court then suspended four years of his sentence and dismissed his remaining charges. 

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“This Salvadoran noncitizen represented a significant threat to the residents of our Maryland communities,” said ICE ERO Baltimore Field Office Director Darius Reeves. “Not only is he a validated member of a notorious street gang, but he also displayed a willingness to unlawfully carry a firearm in public.”

The man illegally entered the United States in June 2014 through the Rio Grande Valley in Texas as an unaccompanied minor, authorities said. He was served with a notice to appear before an immigration judge and was handed over to his mother in Rockville, Maryland in July 2014. 

In August 2014, an immigration judge ordered him to be deported after he failed to appear in court, ICE said. In November 2016, the Montgomery County Police Department arrested him on suspicion of first-degree assault and weapons-related offenses. 

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Immigration authorities lodged a detainer request with the Montgomery County Detention Center, meaning a request to be notified of the suspect’s release date so he can be taken into federal custody for deportation proceedings. 

In February 2017, the detainer request was ignored and the El Salvadoran citizen was released and his charges were sent to a juvenile court. That year, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed he was an associate of a street gang. 

He was arrested again in 2018 by the Montgomery County Police Department and charged with crimes related to making a false statement to a peace officer and obstruction, and another detainer request was made by ICE. 

The charges against him were dismissed in May 2018 and the detainer request was declined. 

Following his most recent conviction, he was held in the county jail and another detention request was ignored, resulting in his release from jail in August 2023, ICE said. 

He is currently being held in federal custody pending deportation, authorities said. 

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