'Unaccompanied Minor' Migrant Charged in Grisly Mutilation Murder, ICE Pins Blame on Sanctuary Cities


An illegal immigrant who had a detainer placed on him by Immigration and Customs Enforcement but was released from jails in Washington state has been charged with murdering a high schooler — and ICE is blaming sanctuary laws for the fact one of the suspected killers was in the country at all.

Carlos Orlando Iraheta-Vega, 20, is one of two men who stands accused of the murder of 16-year-old Juan Carlos Con Guzman, according to the Seattle Times.

Authorities say Con Guzman, a student at Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines, Washington, was lured from his home Sept. for a fight by Iraheta-Vega and 28-year-old Rudy Osvaldo Garcia-Hernandez. The two then drove him by the Green River in Auburn “with a plan to torture and kill him,” according to court documents.

Con Guzman was purportedly beaten to death with a baseball bat and then cut up with a machete and left in the river near the town of Auburn.

“The extraordinary brutality of this crime demonstrates the threat the defendants pose to the community,” King County, Washington, prosecutor Mary Barbosa wrote in the charging documents, the Seattle Times reported Friday.

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Before the murder, however, ICE said it already knew that Iraheta-Vega was a threat. That’s why it had put a detainer on him after prior arrests.

According to KIRO-TV, Iraheta-Vega, who’d come to the United States illegally from El Salvador as an unaccompanied minor, has made several visits to King County jails since 2018.

“ICE said it lodged a detainer following Iraheta-Vega’s first arrest by Kent police in 2018 but was not notified of his release from jail several days later,” KIRO reported.

“Iraheta-Vega was later arrested twice for DUI, according to ICE, and released from jail before they could encounter him.”

ICE also said both men were members of the notorious MS-13 gang, according to KOMO-TV.

The agency blamed sanctuary policies for Iraheta-Vega’s release.

“This scenario, where sanctuary policies shield criminal aliens who prey on people in the community from immigration enforcement, is becoming all too common,” ICE said in a statement to KIRO.

“As Iraheta-Vega’s crimes increased in severity, local officials chose to release him, time and time again, without notification to ICE, a simple process that could have potentially prevented this crime.”

“We would, in all likelihood, have taken this person into our own custody and maybe prevented this horrific crime from occurring,” ICE Deputy Field Office Director Bryan Wilcox told KOMO.

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King County — which includes Seattle — has a policy against asking prisoners their immigration status. Like some other jurisdictions around the country, it also doesn’t cooperate with ICE or other immigration authorities.

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The county, meanwhile, denied that the sanctuary policy had anything to do with Iraheta-Vega still being in the country.

“ICE is now on a public relations offensive against jurisdictions that follow the rule of law,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a  statement, according to KOMO. “To be clear, we do not hold people against their will in our detention facilities unless ordered to do so by a judge.

“ICE is fully aware that if they present a valid criminal warrant issued by a U.S. District Court Judge or Magistrate, the county would comply.”

Unmentioned in the statement was the fact that when ICE issues detainers, it’s usually in cases where it can’t get a warrant because the issue isn’t on the federal level

“For a lot of these criminal activities, there isn’t a comparable immigration federal charge for that,” Wilcox said, according to KOMO.

“Immigration criminal charges are very limited and relate to immigration and alien smuggling. And the counties know this. They know there’s no such thing.”

And then there’s the other argument — that blaming sanctuary city policies for Iraheta-Vega being in the country is just stirring up “prejudice.”

“ICE basically just wants the local jails and the local police to do their bidding, notwithstanding the state judge’s order,” Matt Adams of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, told KIRO.

“I think they’re trying to put public pressure on local officials and trying to taint the community, as it were, and try to create this prejudice against the immigrant community.”

Except detainers aren’t used “against the immigrant community” at large. They’re deployed against individuals who’ve been arrested.  There’s a very good argument as to why these people shouldn’t be in the country and it has nothing to do with prejudice.

It’s very likely that Iraheta-Vega wouldn’t be in the country right now had King County honored ICE’s detainer on him. Would it have saved Con Guzman’s life? We don’t know that — although, according to the police’s version of events, the victim’s dispute was with Iraheta-Vega.

What we do know is this: There was a detainer on him. That detainer wasn’t honored. Now, he’s sitting in a jail charged with first-degree murder.

We suspect he’ll stay there this time.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture