Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda (26), an illegal immigrant, was involved in a hit and run accident while merging his pickup truck and striking a semi on Interstate 70 in Colorado on March 3. The tractor-trailer involved in the accident went up in flames, killing the driver while Zamarripa-Castaneda fled the scene. Apprehended later at his residence, Zamarripa-Castaneda was found to have alcohol on his breath. Results of a blood test have not yet been released. He was taken into custody.

Zamarripa-Castaneda left the Downtown Detention Center in Denver County jail after posting a $25,000 bond on Saturday. According to Denver policy, because Zamarripa-Castaneda was able to post bond, the jail would not hold him without a court order from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.  

According to federal authorities, Zamarripa-Castaneda is an illegal immigrant. While the alleged culprit was released at 5:28 p.m. on Saturday, the Denver Police Department did not advise the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) until 6:33 p.m despite having received a detainer notice from ICE. Two hours later, when immigration officers came to pick up Zamarripa-Castaneda and take him into custody, they were informed that he had been released. 

Speaking on Monday on "America's Newsroom," Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano said that it is "inconceivable" to him that any bail was set, noting that there was a death involved and Zamarripa-Castaneda had fled the scene. "It was profoundly wrong to give bail at any amount to a person who's a danger to the society," Napolitano said. "They really have to find him now." Failure to cooperate with law enforcement, said Napolitano, obviates the issuance of bail.

While Napolitano said that Denver's sanctuary city policy may not have been involved, he believes there was a "breakdown in communication." A former judge, Napolitano theorized, "This is a sheriff who did want to put this guy in federal custody, because the sheriff disagreed with the bail." Napolitano said, "He had no choice but to honor it. He didn't want this guy on the streets. Now he's loose on the streets, probably to drive a motor vehicle again."

In a statement, the Denver County Sheriff's Office said, “This is unacceptable and the sheriff has ordered an immediate internal review to determine why established notification processes did not take place before Zamarripa-Castaneda was released." As to federal authorities’ response, ICE called Zamarripa-Castaneda an immigration fugitive and released a statement saying, “As law enforcement professionals, we should all have the same ultimate goal in mind — to protect the public by combating criminals.”

At a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump said to cheers that he is calling on Congress to end funding to so-called “sanctuary” cities, such as Denver, Chicago, and San Francisco, 



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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