Anillegal immigrantwho was arrested in New York City on weapons charges earlier this year and released back into the community is now back in custody ongang-related charges, federal authorities said Thursday.
Denery Steven Lemus-Najarro, a 21-year-old Guatemalan national unlawfully present in the U.S., was arrested Aug. 18 for a gang-related shooting, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in apress release.
Court documents say Lemus-Najarro is an alleged member of the 18th Street gang and has an outstanding order for his removal from the U.S. He is identified as the suspect in an Aug. 14 shooting in Queens that left a man with a gunshot wound to the leg.
New York City police officers arrested Lemus-Najarro in January on criminal possession of firearm charges. Officers with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) lodged a detainer with NYPD. The detainer was not honored due to the city’s sanctuary policies and Lemus-Najarro was released back into the community.
The FBI’s New York Metro Safe Task Force arrested Lemus-Najarro on charges of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
Thomas R. Decker, ERO’s New York field office director, has criticized sanctuary city policies for jeopardizing public safety.
“These policies embolden gang members, such as Lemus-Najarro, to brazenly commit crimes in this city without fear of repercussion,” Decker said. “It’s unfortunate that the lives and safety of the citizens they have been elected to protect are second to those of the criminal aliens. ICE detainers are an important tool this agency uses to remove violent criminals from our communities.”