From Noah Pransky: Citrus County deputies made a surprising discovery Tuesday – 13 illegal aliens riding together in a van. But unable to get U.S. Border Patrol to the scene, they had no choice but to let 12 of them go.
Deputies pulled over Natalicio Venancio-Tolentino, 23, for driving with a clear lens over his license plate, then arrested him when they discovered he was driving without a license. But the 12 aliens he was driving to their job at a straw-bailing company in Lake City could not be held, per Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) policy.
“We can’t detain them beyond the appropriate times,” explained Gail Tierney, CCSO spokesperson. “It’s a federal offense, therefore it falls under the jurisdiction of a federal agency.”
Tierney added that immigration law is extremely complex and only federal experts are truly qualified to determine a suspect’s status. But because the incident occurred around the evening rush hour on Tuesday, Tampa Border Patrol agents didn’t think they could get to Crystal River in a reasonable amount of time. Continue reading here.