Federal agents placed immigration detainers on five people charged in connection with the killing of an Annapolis woman whose body was recovered last month in a Crownsville grave.
U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement announced Wednesday it issued detainers for Francisco Ramirez-Pena, Ronald Adonay Mendez-Sosa, Darvin E. Guerra-Zacarias, Brenda Y. Argueta, and Ervin N. Arrue Figuero after they were arrested on local murder charges. They are being held without bond, court records show. They are being represented by the state Office of the Public Defender, which could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday night.
“ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” the agency said in a statement.
Anne Arundel County police made the arrests for the killing of Jenni B. Rivera Lopez, 21. Police say she was driven June 24 to a remote spot at or near a youth camp on the outskirts of Annapolis called Camp Barrett.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Rivera Lopez’s death a homicide, and police noted in charging documents that she suffered significant trauma.
Lt. Ryan Frashure, police spokesman, confirmed that investigators believe Rivera Lopez’s death is gang-related but declined to elaborate, citing an ongoing investigation.
ICE issues the detainers when the agency has probable cause to believe a person qualifies for deportation. The detainers allow law enforcement agencies to maintain custody of a person of interest for up to 48 hours so ICE can assume custody.
Anne Arundel County police have linked three recent killings to gangs, although officers have provided very few details.
Chief Timothy Altomare said recently that the department would not release information on the locations of the killings or identities of the victims because of the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation. Multiple suspects have been arrested, he said.
The killings occurred over the last the past three to five weeks in separate locations, according to police.
Altomare pleaded with residents to come to police if they are in fear of a gang they believe wants to hurt them.
“I'm begging you to come and talk to us,” he said last week. “Your lives matter to us, it's our job to keep you safe, we take it seriously, and we will move heaven and earth to get you the help you need if you need help to stay safe.”
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Phil Davis and Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Rector contributed to this article.