HILLSBOROUGH, NC (WNCN) – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender who Orange County authorities refused to detain was arrested by federal agents on Monday.
Udiel Aguilar-Castellanos, 44, who ICE says is in the United States illegally, pleaded guilty in Orange County on June 27 to two counts of sexual battery and was required to register as a sex offender as part of his plea agreement.
Aguilar-Castellanos’s victim is an 11-year-old girl, according to the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry.
ICE says Orange County authorities released Aguilar-Castellanos from custody without notifying the federal agency on the same day he made his plea agreement.
An immigration detainer was placed on Aguilar-Castellanos in September 2017 when he was arrested in connection with the sex crimes, ICE reports.
In a release, ICE said it tried to keep track of the case but did not receive updates from local authorities.
ICE said agents were unaware Aguilar-Castellanos was released until he registered as a sex offender in Orange County on July 11.
That led to his arrest at his Carrboro home on Monday.
His status as an illegal immigrant dates back to January 2015 when a federal immigration judge issued final orders for Aguilar-Castellanos to be removed from the country after he was was convicted of driving while impaired in 2014.
Following ICE’s release, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement on Aguilar-Castellanos’ case.
The sheriff’s office said they released Aguilar-Castellanos in accordance with the U.S. and North Carolina constitutions.
On June 27, a superior court judge sentenced him to time served.
His plea agreement saw his felony charges of second-degree kidnapping and indecent liberties reduced to sexual battery.
The sheriff’s office said Aguilar-Castellanos was convicted of two counts of sexual battery and received a sentence of 150 days active time.
The North Carolina Sex Offender Registry shows he was confined for 75 days for each count in connection with the sex crimes.
Aguilar-Castellanos spent 300 days in custody awaiting resolution of his charges where federal agents could have assumed custody of him, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.
“However, that option was not exercised,” the sheriff’s office’s statement read.
Mjr. Randy Hawkins of the Orange County Detention Center attempted to contact the Department of Homeland Security but said he did not receive a response.
The sheriff’s office said “Neither an immigration detainer or an administrative warrant is issued by a judge or judicial officer, and subsequently lack the probable cause necessary to hold someone in custody,” which forced them to set Aguilar-Castellanos free.
Holding him in custody would be a violation of Aguilar-Castellanos’ Fourth Amendment rights, the sheriff’s office said.