ICE: Man arrested in deadly Tulare County, California rampage was deported twice before

Photo: Tulare County Sheriff Department/ KMPH

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) – A man that caused a deadly rampage in Tulare County, California had been deported two times before, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities identified 36-year-old Junior (aka Gustavo) Garcia-Ruiz is responsible for several shootings, two murders, a carjacking, multiple high-speed chases that caused several accidents, and an officer-involved shooting Sunday.

In a statement made by Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux during a news conference Wednesday they announced that Garcia was an undocumented previously deported criminal. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also provided a statement on Garcia’s arrest history.

“Gustavo Garcia would have been turned over to ICE officials. That’s how we’ve always done it, day in and day out. But after SB 54, we no longer have the power to do that. Under the new state law, we must have a “federally signed warrant” in order to do that. We didn’t honor the detainer because state law doesn’t allow us to,” Boudreaux said.

The law SB-54 Boudreaux mentioned is also referred to as the Sanctuary State bill. The law prohibits state and local law enforcement from holding undocumented immigrants on the basis of federal immigration holds, unless they've been convicted of certain crimes. It also prevents state and local law enforcement from asking anyone about their immigration status.

Boudreaux added that he felt the law was an example of State and Federal Law contradicting each other and another example of why “sanctuary cities” don’t keep people safe.

“The people in this Valley know, if we could legally hold someone based on a “criminal immigration detainer,” we would,” Boudreaux stated. “I want to be clear, the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t disagree with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program), it doesn’t disagree with Dreamers. It disagrees with putting dangerous criminals back into our community. And that’s exactly what happened here.”

In May, Boudreaux went before the board of supervisors to oppose sanctuary cities. He stated that if some individuals were a risk to those who are living in the county, he needed the tools to remove them from the community.

According to ICE, Garcia entered the country in 1992 illegally as a minor. He then adjusted his status to a “Lawful Permanent Resident” in 2002 deriving eligibility through a family member. ICE lodged a detainer on him after he was convicted for Carrying a Loaded Firearm in a Public Place in 2003 – where was sentenced to two years in prison. An immigration judge initially ordered him removed in 2004. He was removed from the United States in 2004 and again in 2014. He received a 27-month sentence in federal prison for reentering the country before his second removal.

“ICE lodged an immigration detainer on Garcia-Ruiz after learning of his arrest by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office for being under the influence of a controlled substance; however that detainer was not honored and he was released from custody later that day without any notification to ICE,” the agency said in a statement. “This deadly rampage could have been prevented if ICE had been notified of his release. This is an unfortunate and extremely tragic example of how public safety is impacted with laws or policies limiting local law enforcement agencies’ ability to cooperate with ICE.”

During Wednesday’s news conference, Boudreaux said that he wanted to be clear that he does not disagree with DACA or Dreamers. He said that the law “disagrees with putting dangerous criminals back into our community.”

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