SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — KRON4 has learned that the man accused of murder using a gun stolen from a San Francisco police officer was being tracked by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Erick Garcia-Pineda was arrested this week along with Daniel Cruz on suspicion of killing Abel Enrique Esquivel Jr.
Investigators said Wednesday that the two had stolen the gun three days earlier from the personal car of an officer.
Garcia-Pineda was detained in April, ICE officials said in a statement. An immigration judge ordered his release with the requirement that he wear a GPS monitoring bracelet and report to ICE in-person on a regular basis.
ICE officials said that Garcia-Pineda was complying with terms of his release until August when he failed to appear for his scheduled appointment with ICE.
“It’s important to note that following Mr. Garcia-Pineda’s arrest in September on a domestic violence charge, ICE lodged a detainer against him with the San Francisco County Jail. Despite the detainer, local authorities released him back into the community without providing any notification to ICE, resulting in yet another arrest that could have been prevented through cooperation with ICE,” the statement said.
Regarding the stolen gun, the president of the police union Martin Halloran says the officer is a decorated veteran who didn’t know the gun had been stolen until after the killing, and was “devastated.”
Handguns stolen from law enforcement officers’ cars have been used in high-profile Bay Area killings like the slaying of Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier in 2015 and the killing of 27-year-old Oakland muralist Antonio Ramos last year.
Here is a statement from ICE:
Records reviewed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) indicate that Mr. Garcia-Pineda’s GPS ankle bracelet was removed Aug. 19. On that date, the contractor responsible for monitoring aliens released by ICE on ankle bracelets received a tamper alert emitted by Mr. Garcia-Pineda’s device. Subsequently, ICE initiated efforts to locate this individual, but because the tracking device was no longer functioning the search was initially unsuccessful. ICE then communicated with Mr. Garcia-Pineda’s attorney, instructing him to direct his client to report to ICE in person immediately. However, Mr. Garcia-Pineda failed to appear.
Following Mr. Garcia-Pineda’s arrest Sept. 3 by the San Francisco Police Department, ICE received an electronic notification through its Secure Communities system and lodged an immigration detainer against him. As previously stated, local authorities failed to honor that detainer and released Mr. Garcia-Pineda back into the community. However, by that time ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations was aware this individual was the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and accordingly didn’t want to take any action that might impede or jeopardize that investigation.
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