Immigration

David Kantun-Vera, Acquitted of Sex Crimes, Confined in Jail Without Bond Awaiting Likely Deportation

| by Allison Geller

An undocumented immigrant from Mexico may be deported after being found not guilty in a sexual abuse case.

David Kantun-Vera, 31, was acquitted in late January on charges of criminal sexual penetration of a 3-year-old girl he was babysitting in Aztec, N.M., in February 2012. He was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting the girl and charged with two-first degree felonies, which were lessened to third- and fourth-degree felony child abuse and false imprisonment charges. Conflicting testimony and lack of medical evidence led to the not-guilty verdict.

"I've known those kids since they were born," he said at the trial via an interpreter. "I would never do something like that."

But now Kantun-Vera is under what is commonly referred to as an "ICE hold," according to his attorney, Mark Curnutt. He is awaiting deportation proceedings without bond in an El Paso, Texas jail.

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An ICE hold means that a state jail is aware that an inmate is also wanted in a federal immigration-related case. Kantun-Vera was bound for arrest by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement even before his case closed. He is one of 12 inmates at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on ICE hold.

The ICE can use discretion in determining whether to deport an individual acquitted of a crime, according to ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa. But considering the nature of Kantun-Vera’s case, a deportation decision is likely, she says.

Sources: The Daily Times (2)