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MCSO: Undocumented Guatemalan Man Accused of Rape, Released, Then Re-Arrested After Public Outcry

Juan Jose-Sebastian
Juan Jose-Sebastian

Martin County - Tuesday March 5, 2024: An undocumented Guatemalan man, wanted for rape in Oregon, has been re-arrested after his release from the Martin County Jail Friday.

26-year old Juan Jose-Sebastian was being held on charges of driving without a license. As his sentence for that crime was nearing an end, Martin County Sheriff (MCSO) William Snyder says he learned that Juan Jose-Sebastian was wanted in Washington County Oregon on an outstanding warrant accusing the immigrant of three counts of rape and sexual abuse.

Jail officials notified U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE. But federal authorities declined to hold him. Then Oregon officials declined to extradite him.

Sheriff Snyder posted his frustration on the MCSO Facebook page last Friday afternoon writing - "The wanted rapist will be released into our community today. There is no legal way for the Sheriffs Office to continue holding Jose–Sebastian, as he completed his sentence for the charge of driving without a valid license."

The post sparked outrage in the community, and prompted Congressman Brian Mast, and Governor DeSantis to lodge complaints with ICE officials in Washington DC.

Within hours, ICE reversed its position and authorized the sheriff to find Jose-Sebastian and take him back into custody. MCSO Deputies re-arrested him, and Jose-Sebastian
is now in the custody of Immigration authorities.