As their son and immigration attorney tell the story, Carlos Nieblas-Ortiz and his wife Martha Valenzuela-Luna were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The couple had headed down to Mission Bay the evening of June 25 to check on the boat Ortiz owns and keeps near Dana Landing, said their 20-year-old son, also named Carlos. Their 14-year-old daughter, a U.S. citizen, rode with them. Ortiz and Luna never made it home.
Along the way, they crossed paths with two deputies from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department who were on patrol looking for smugglers leaving the area carrying drugs.
Deputies stopped the vehicle for what they said was a cracked windshield. They searched the car for drugs, but found none. They issued no citations, and made no arrests. But neither Ortiz nor Luna was allowed to leave.
Despite a Sheriff’s Department policy that prohibits deputies from stopping, detaining or questioning people for reasons related to immigration, the deputies contacted U.S. Border Patrol during the traffic stop and held the couple until the agents arrived on scene to detain them. The teenager was released after the stop.
U.S. Border Patrol confirmed they detained Ortiz and Luna after they were contacted by Sheriff’s deputies that day. Both are Mexican nationals who are in the country illegally, said Border Patrol spokesperson Mark Endicott. The couple was detained and sent to separate facilities – Ortiz to Adelanto, three hours north of San Diego, and Luna to Bakersfield.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Mario, not one of your best efforts. Had to read like 10 paragraphs to find out their windshield was indeed cracked (pretty sure) , then the was the thing about a felony never explained huh?? Good work by the officers , not sure why they weren't immediately deported.
Kudos to the officers who called in ICE. Someone needs to live up to the oath they take to uphold the law. Everyone else should be fired.
Lots of people have cracked windshields including me. I haven't spent the money to replace it because i replaced it once already three years ago and then three months later it got cracked again by another flying piece of debris on our lovely freeways. But i am white, so I don't think the police will ever stop me for that reason.
Also, If the couple were here illegally, then there won't be a history of frequent border crossings for them. Duh.
Since when did a cracked windshield, or a tail light or headlight out, constitute probable cause for a search of the vehicle?
Curious how the sheriff's deputies were legally able to go from a cracked windshield to a search of the vehicle for drugs. Is the new standard for vehicle drug searches mean anyone going to Dana Point is subject to search? Really?
With all the stories in the news of LEO's caught willfully violating the law by planting evidence one would hope these officers had their body cameras on at all times, the family members were allowed to closely observe the search, ensuring nothing was planted.
Sad to say it is the 1% of substandard LEO's are ruining it for the 99% of professional LEOs.
@Al Allen @Judith Swink , simple - the officer pulls them over, asks to search the vehicle, they say yes, and there you go. Perfectly legal. If they don't give permission, the officer would have had to gotten a warrant to search. I'm assuming, of course, that this is the scenario that played out, but it's not unreasonable.
The old saying "The fish stinks from the head" likely applies here. Sheriff Gore is an unabashed Trump and Issa supporter. Odds are that his subordinates know that they can ignore the department's immigration policy.
The core tenet of our system of justice is the philosophy of the presumption of innocence. That part of who we are in the U.S. is failing. So, the instance of the teacher who got stopped in New Mexico on the I-10, at a "checkpoint charley", like the one we have on the I-5 in Camp Pendleton. There was no reason to ask anything of her nor inspect her vehicle. Why? Where was the checkpoint? The check place was in the middle of nowhere. How could anyone "sneek" up to avoid inspection. And, at the I-5, can you think of zone more militarized than that? There is no reason to check anyone on those roadways unless, and this is the issue, unless the authorities have solid information on the likelihood of criminality.
In our country we have been "blessed" by a solid sector of citizens who often see monsters under their beds. That how we got our CIA, FBI, NSA, DEA, ATF, TSA, and a plethora of law enforcement agencies. That said, we are still in the U.S.A. And, what about Border Field State Park. How is that park like a park? It's not. It is, in fact, another outpost for ICE and you will most likely be asked to demonstrate your citizenship.
The boogie man people in our country are paranoid. They have nearly all of us in constant fear of something. Sure, there is all the news about Europe, the Middle East, and recent horrific events in our country. But, in all reality, we have a far greater chance of losing our lives on the freeway than being a victim of another outrageous act.
Somewhere along the way, our law enforcement people have lost their ability to distance themselves from stepping on to our inalienable rights. And, their oft quoted dictum that they often have to make split second decisions is wearing very thin these days. They have a tough job, but I wonder whether all have been, at least, adequately trained to handle difficult situations. Yes, we all need them around. But, the vast majority of people do fairly abide by the basics of citizenry.
They stopped this family for a cracked windshield. Ok. They could have been given a citation or a warning. This family is now in horrible crisis, a crisis totally unnecessary.
There is a reason for a Border Patrol. Yeah, FOR THE BORDER. There is a reason for the hated TSA; planes are totally vulnerable.
There are now only two vestiges of the America I knew where there is freedom of movement without pain: Greyhound and AmTrak. That's it. And, that's just plain wrong. People we do not live in a war zone! And, as bad as some people claim, the inner cities are not war zones either.
It is about the presumption of innocence. And, that is not just a procedural issue in a court trial. It is the basis of our system of jurisprudence in our country. And, our law enforcement people need to start applying that philosophy in EVERYTHING they do.
“After a brief hearing, the judge agreed to release Ortiz on a $5,000 cash bond.”
What kind of court was this in and what were the charges for which he was released on bond? Is there some reason that information isn't provided?
@Jeff Sanders It was an immigration court hearing, which is a civil administrative process. He didn't face criminal charges - the charge in this case is that he violated federal immigration law. You can read more about immigration court hearings here: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/observing-immigration-court-hearings
I first heard about this arrest at the Impeachment March on July 2, while waiting to speak in front of the County Administration Building. That same day, Deputy Sheriffs stood idly by and ignored the actions of white supremacist "Proud Boys" who pushed their way into the crowd and disrupted the speakers at the start of the event. They ignored repeated requests from organizers and volunteers who asked them to intervene and set up a barrier to keep the groups separated. (for details see: https://sandiegofreepress.org/2017/07/sd-sheriffs-stand-by-as-alt-reich-proud-boys-disrupt-impeachment-rally/
March organizer Mohamed M Elnakib and others are now working on a potential complaint to the County Law Enforcement Review Board.
These two events show the very different approaches the Sheriff's department has taken in one month alone, when it comes to protecting citizens: they will detain a couple without cause and turn them over to Border Patrol, but fail to act when a potentially dangerous situation develops before their eyes, threatening the safety of families in attendance.
Time for a change.
Wahl is the SDPD's version of Huckabee-Sanders. How information on this alleged jaywalker's citizenship would have contributed to establishing his identity is beyond me. I do concede that she, Huckabee-Sanders, is slightly less believable.