An illegal alien with a history of “criminal mischief” has been charged with murder, arson and mutilation of a corpse in San Antonio – even as city officials contest Texas’s anti-sanctuary law.

Ernesto Esquivel-Garcia, 20, is being held on a $195,000 bond and a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.

The grisly case is garnering additional interest as family members of the victim, 20-year-old Jared Vargas, accuse San Antonio Police of slow-walking their missing-person report and asking them to stay quiet about the incident.

The family said the evidence pointed to Esquivel-Garcia, noting that Jared’s car was parked at the apartment complex where Esquivel-Garcia lived.

“[Police Chief William] McManus and his legal team have told the family not to go public about the case,” a family friend said.

McManus is under investigation by the Texas Attorney General’s Office for possible violation of the state’s anti-sanctuary law in the release of 12 illegal aliens last December. San Antonio is among the cities waging a prolonged court battle to overturn Senate Bill 4.

Police say they acted properly in the Vargas murder case, and deny asking the family to stay mum.

Court records show Esquivel-Garcia was charged in March 2017 with obstructing a highway, intoxication and criminal mischief. But he was soon back on the streets. ICE did not say why no detainer was placed on Esquivel-Garcia at that time.

ICE spokeswoman Nina Pruneda could not confirm any details about Esquivel-Garcia. The agency did not explain how the illegal alien obtained employment at a trendy area restaurant, where the victim also worked.

Esquivel-Garcia was apprehended when he was stopped for a traffic violation – two days after Vargas’s charred body was found in an apartment previously occupied by Esquivel-Garcia.

Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, believes officers handled the case properly. But he told FAIR:

“San Antonio is a place illegals flock to because the chief and mayor will not enforce [laws]or assist Homeland Security. For them to say they will do so going forward is too little, too late. The damage is done.”

Bob Dane writes for the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.

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