Sanctuary County Nixed 20-Year Jail Sentence For Illegal Immigrant Drug Dealer, Released Him Despite Detainer

Maryland law enforcement officials suspended a prison sentence for an illegal immigrant convicted of drug distribution and then ignored a detainer request for him, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE agents apprehended Nahun Ventura Ortiz-Isaguriz, a twice-deported Honduran national living in the U.S. unlawfully, the agency announced in a press release on Thursday. Local officials in Howard County, Maryland, suspended nearly his entire prison sentence after he was convicted for drug distribution, and then released him back into the community despite a detainer request lodged against him.

“Nahun Ventura Ortiz-Isaguriz has been convicted of distributing poison to the residents of our Maryland neighborhoods,” ERO Baltimore acting Field Office Director Matthew Elliston stated. “Additionally, Ortiz had been removed from the United States twice before.”

“Allowing such offenders to remain here allows them to disproportionately target and victimize the members of our migrant communities,” Elliston continued. “ERO Baltimore will continue to prioritize public safety by apprehending and removing the most egregious noncitizen offenders from Maryland.”

Border Patrol agents arrested Ortiz after he illegally crossed into the U.S. near Penitas, Texas, in December 2009, according to ICE. He was served with an expedited removal form and deported back to Honduras later that month.

Ortiz later re-entered the U.S. at an unknown date and location, making him another unknown “gotaway” who had crossed illegally into the U.S. Deportation officers based in Los Angeles arrested Ortiz in August 2011, served him again with a removal order and he was deported to Honduras the following month.

The Honduran national again re-entered the U.S. at an unknown date and location, without any inspection from a federal immigration officer, ICE said.

The Howard County Police Department in Maryland arrested Ortiz on March 22, 2023, and charged him with drug-related crimes, which included possession with intent to distribute, according to the agency. ICE lodged an immigration detainer against him with the Howard County Detention Center that same day.

The Circuit Court for Howard County in Ellicott City convicted Ortiz of distributing narcotics and sentenced him to 20 years in prison followed by a couple years of probation.

However, the court suspended all but 155 days of Ortiz’s prison sentence and “refused” to honor the immigration detainer on him, instead releasing him back into the community on August 23, 2023, ICE said.

Deportation officers out of Baltimore were able to apprehend the Honduran national in Ellicott City, Maryland, on June 10, and he will remain in the agency’s custody pending his deportation from the country, the agency noted.

The press release on Ortiz follows other high-profile crimes out of Maryland, allegedly at the hands of illegal aliens.

ICE ripped Maryland law enforcement officials earlier this month for suspending the prison sentence of a Guatemalan national convicted of sex crimes against a minor and ignoring a detainer request for him. The rape and murder of Rachel Morin in 2023, in which an illegal immigrant was later arrested and charged, took place along a hiking trail in Maryland.

The Center for Immigration Studies lists the jurisdiction where Ortiz was arrested in, Howard County, Maryland, as a “sanctuary” jurisdiction for its refusal to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

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