PORTLAND, OR (KCCI) – Federal officers have accused authorities in Oregon of preventing them from taking a Mexican national into custody before he was released in a domestic violence case and went on to be charged with murder.
Martin Gallo-Gallardo, who was in the U.S. illegally, posted bond in March and was released from jail in Portland when his wife and a daughter stopped cooperating with prosecutors and a grand jury declined to indict him, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Friday.
Authorities in nearby Clackamas County arrested and charged him this week with killing his wife and dumping her body in a ditch.
His court-appointed attorney, Thomas Hanrahan, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it placed a civil detainer on Gallo-Gallardo, 45, while he was still in custody in Portland and wanted to take him into federal custody for deportation, but the request wasn’t recognized by the sheriff’s office.
The case spotlights Oregon’s first-in-the nation immigrant sanctuary law just as voters will decide Tuesday whether to repeal it. Oregon adopted the law in 1987 to prevent law enforcement from detaining people who are in the U.S. illegally but have not broken other laws.
“It’s unfortunate that law enforcement agencies like the Multnomah County jail refuse to work with ICE to promote public safety by holding criminals accountable and providing justice and closure for their victims,” said Tanya J. Roman, a spokeswoman for the ICE regional office that covers Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.
“Sanctuary policies not only provide a refuge for illegal aliens, but they also shield criminal aliens who prey on people in their own and other communities.”
Detectives went to question Gallo-Gallardo at his job and he confessed to the killing, the affidavit said.
An autopsy found she died from blunt-force head trauma and multiple stab wounds.
ICE has now placed a hold on the suspect with the Clackamas County jail where he’s being held on the murder charge.