SAN FRANCISCO, CA (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.
The 36-year-old was arrested last week on multiple allegations including four counts of felony rape.
ICE said it formally asked the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department on Friday to detain Vilchez 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.
The suspect appeared in court for his arraignment on Tuesday. He is facing 12 felonies, including the rapes of four women, kidnapping three of them, and threatening three of them with a deadly weapon.
There are concerns Vilchez Lazo could be involved in additional sexual assaults.
“There’s a long time between 2013 and 2018. It’s very hard to believe he wasn’t committing sexual assaults somewhere else,” said Alex Bastian, a spokesperson for the San Francisco District Attorney Bastian.