Local police and agents with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement are searching for a Honduras native who vanished following his release on bond after being charged with motor vehicle homicide in the death of a southwest Iowa woman.
Critics call Omaha a “sanctuary city” because of the situation involving 19-year-old Eswin Mejia. Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer disagrees. “My understanding is the definition of a sanctuary city is a city or county that will erect laws in order to not support ICE,” Chief Schmaderer says. “We will support ICE in what they’re trying to do. By pure definition, Omaha’s certainly not a sanctuary city.”
Mejia is charged in the death of 21-year-old Sarah Root of Council Bluffs. Police say Mejia’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit and he was street racing on a suspended license when he rear-ended Root’s vehicle in Omaha in late January, killing her. Schmaderer says Mejia was in the U.S. illegally and was released after posting bond and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
“We notified the county attorney’s office that he’s here illegally,” he says. “We also notified ICE at that time. We notified ICE after the arrest and even had a supervisor call over there. For whatever reason, nothing came of those particular calls.” The chief says everything was done according to protocol.
“We did everything that we were supposed to do to bring this offender to justice, to notify ICE, to make everybody aware he was here illegally, including the final aftermath, to try and apprehend him, to bring him back now,” Schmaderer says. Mejia’s bond was set at $50,000. He was able to secure 10 percent of that and was freed.
By Karla James