SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A suspected serial rapist charged with posing as a Northern California ride-hailing driver to prey on his victims was living in the country illegally, federal immigration authorities said Tuesday.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said it plans to deport Orlando Vilchez Lazo, 36, to his native Peru if he’s released from custody on the rape case.
Vilchez Lazo was arrested last week on multiple allegations, including four counts of felony rape. He is jailed in lieu of $4.2 million in bail and is scheduled to appear Tuesday in court, where he is expected to be assigned a lawyer.
ICE said it formally asked the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department on Friday to detain Lazo for federal immigration custody if he’s ordered released from jail.
But officials said they believe the request will be ignored because San Francisco’s so-called sanctuary city policy bars local authorities from cooperating with most deportation efforts.
ICE officials criticized the San Francisco’s immigration policy, which has also been adopted in scores of cities and counties across the nation. The policy “not only provides a refuge for illegal aliens, but it also shields criminal aliens who prey on people in the community,” ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said.
President Donald Trump made opposition to sanctuary city laws one of his main campaign themes. Trump took particular aim at San Francisco’s policy after a man federal authorities say was living in the country illegally was charged with shooting to death Kate Steinle in July 2015.
The San Francisco sheriff’s department ignored an ICE request to detain Jose Ines Garcia Zarate after local marijuana charges were dropped several weeks before Steinle was shot while walking on a popular pedestrian pier with her father.
A jury acquitted Garcia Zarate of murder and homicide charges after he said the gun that killed Steinle accidentally fired when he found it underneath the pier bench he was sitting on.
Garcia Zarate is now in federal custody after the U.S. Attorney’s office charged him with two illegal gun possession charges.
He has pleaded not guilty and faces trial later this year.