ICE Takes Aim at SF Sanctuary City Law in ‘Rideshare Rapist’ Case

Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Gate, July 16, 2018

U.S. immigration officials took aim at San Francisco’s sanctuary city law Monday in the case of the San Mateo man accused of being the “Rideshare Rapist.”

In a statement, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said the city’s policy of not honoring ICE holds “shields criminal aliens who prey on the community.”

The suspect, Orlando Vilchez Lazo, 36, is being held in jail in San Francisco in lieu of $4.2 million bail and faces life in prison in connection with the rapes of four women who got into his car believing him to be a ride-hail driver, police said.

Immigration officials said Lazo was a “citizen of Peru illegally present in the U.S.” and that it had “lodged a detainer,” or hold, for Lazo on Friday with the San Francisco County Jail.

“ICE maintains that cooperation by local law enforcement is an indispensable component of promoting public safety,” the ICE statement said. “The San Francisco jail does not honor ICE detainers nor notify ICE about the impending release of aliens in its custody. In doing so, the jail not only provides a refuge for illegal aliens, but it also shields criminal aliens who prey on people in the community.”

The ICE statement referred to the San Francisco sanctuary and due-process ordinances that generally prohibit city employees from assisting ICE agents, limit notice to ICE about a person’s release from jail and prohibit cooperation with ICE holds.

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Police arrested Lazo on Thursday, five days after spotting a man in a South of Market neighborhood who matched the assailant’s description and obtaining a DNA sample from him. The sample linked Lazo to four rapes — one in 2013 and three this year, authorities said.

The four victims were picked up by what they thought was the ride-hailing vehicle they had requested outside bars and nightclubs, mostly in the South of Market area, only to be taken to another location and sexually assaulted, police said.

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Authorities said Lazo placed placards from ride-hailing companies inside his vehicle and deceived victims who mistook his car for one they ordered.

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