Killer shown in Trump ad had been arrested in, deported from Maricopa County

The undocumented Mexican immigrant featured in a controversial ad posted online Wednesday by President Donald Trump has a criminal record in Arizona that predated his conviction for killing two sheriff’s deputies in California.

While Trump pilloried Democrats as being responsible for Luis Bracamontes’ release and illegal re-entry into the United States, court records show his case was handled primarily by Republicans. And at least one of his deportations occurred during the Bush administration.

Bracamontes shot and killed two sheriff’s deputies near Sacramento in October 2014. He is now on death row in San Quentin State Prison in California.

On Wednesday, Trump posted a video on Twitter showing Bracamontes in court swearing and bragging about killing police officers. The video, which many people have denounced as racist, intersperses the Bracamontes footage with migrants at the southern U.S. border, seemingly comparing the people to Bracamontes.

“Democrats let him into our country,” the video says. “Democrats let him stay.”

The Arizona Republic has reported on Bracamontes’ criminal history in, and ties to, Arizona. 

In 2014, then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Republican, revealed that the suspect in shootings that left two California sheriff’s deputies dead had Arizona ties and had been deported twice.

At the time, the man was identified by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency as Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte.

He was arrested in Maricopa County in 1996 and was previously deported, Arpaio said in 2014. He might have used other aliases, Arpaio added.

ICE said Monroy-Bracamonte was deported to Mexico in 1997 and was deported a second time in 2001. 

: Dems are illegal-immigrant-cop-killer-loving scum … in Trump’s racist ad

What the court records show

Court records show Bracamontes entered the country illegally from Mexico in  June 1996. Less than three months later, he was arrested on drug charges.

Phoenix police first arrested Bracamontes as part of a narcotics sting in September 1996.

Undercover officers bought small amounts of crack cocaine from Bracamontes and two other men at a Phoenix apartment.  At the time of the arrest, Bracamontes had marijuana in his pocket. Police also found an unloaded .22-caliber rifle in a closet.

Bracamontes was charged with two counts of selling narcotics and possession of marijuana. He pleaded guilty in December 1996 to the solicitation of sale of narcotic drugs and was sentenced in January 1997 to three years’ probation.

A pre-sentencing report from the probation department described Bracamontes as willful and said his drug dealing was tied to habitual marijuana use.

“The defendant appears to have a negative attitude toward the legal process, and is reluctant to assume responsibility for his actions,” a probation officer wrote. “It is unlikely he will benefit from probation; but, it is felt he should be given that opportunity.”

But his probation had barely started when Bracamontes was deported from the United States in June 1997, court records show.

Bracamontes was back in the United States by 2001, when Phoenix police arrested him a second time.

Officers responded to a call in Maryvale about two men smoking marijuana on a patio. They found Bracamontes asleep on the floor inside the house with baggies of crack cocaine in his pants pocket. Officers said a subsequent search of the house turned up bags of marijuana and a handgun.

Bracamontes admitted to officers that the crack was his. But he told them his name was Julian Lopez Gutierrez, according to court records. He was released on bond and failed to show up for his court date.

In July, Bracamontes, who was still going by Gutierrez, was arrested by Customs and Border Patrol agents in Nogales, who discovered he was wanted in Maricopa County. They noted his alias and identified him as Bracamontes.

He was transferred to Arpaio’s Tent City jail and was awaiting trial when was released on bond. He again failed to appear and two subsequent warrants were issued for his arrest, according to court records.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in 2014 said that Bracamontes was deported again in 2001. They did not elaborate on the circumstances. 

Immigration officials criticized

Bracamontes was first deported during the Clinton administration. He was deported for the second time during the Bush administration.

Maricopa County law enforcement officials, including the Maricopa County Sheriff’s and the County Attorney’s offices, were led by Republicans while Bracamontes was in Arizona.

In August 2011, three years before the California shooting, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s office recommended the court dismiss Bracamontes’ 2001 case after a decade of inactivity. Attorneys said it was in the best interests of the court. 

Arpaio on Thursday defended his role in Bracamontes’ incarcerations.

Arpaio said that as far as he is concerned, he “did his job” in holding Bracamontes in his jail and turning him over to immigration officials. He said if Bracamontes at one point was released from his custody and not deported, it was because of “the broken immigration system.”

“I don’t think this guy went to the border 20 times. My gut feeling is he was put out on the streets,” he said. “That’s not my fault, I did my job.”

At a 2014 news conference, Arpaio said he had repeatedly written letters to the Department of Homeland Security and ICE officials asking for an investigation into how and why criminals who have been ordered to be deported keep returning to his custody. 

“The situation is not only intolerable, but it is also getting worse,” he said.

Arpaio said at the time Bracamontes was another example of ICE releasing undocumented immigrants back onto the streets of Maricopa County.

“Once again we are faced with another tragedy on our hands because of a form of ‘backdoor amnesty,'” Arpaio said.

He killed 2 California deputies 

It is unclear when Bracamonte again returned to the United States. He met and married Valley resident Janelle Marquez Monroy, now 41, sometime in the early 2000s.

In 2014, Bracamontes and his wife were living in Utah before their fateful trip to California. At the time of the shootings, Bracamontes was high on meth, according to reports in the Sacramento Bee

In the days after the shooting, Monroy’s father, Mauro Marquez of Tempe, told The Republic that his daughter was a victim, too.

“It wasn’t her fault,” Marquez said. “She wasn’t in agreement. He just took her … He had threatened her and had told her that he was going to kill her.”

The manhunt in California began after Bracamonte, who was sitting with his wife in a parked car outside a motel, allegedly began shooting at Sacramento County sheriff deputies when they approached their car, authorities said.

Bracamontes was convicted of murdering sheriff’s deputies Danny Oliver, 47, of Sacramento County, and Michael David Davis Jr., 42, of Placer County, and shooting a civilian in an attempted carjacking.

Monroy was sentenced in March to what amounts to a life sentence.

She was found guilty Feb. 15 of murder and nine other counts for her role in the crime spree, including the shooting death of Davis by her husband. A judge sentenced her to 24 years and 10 months on various counts to be served before a 25-years-to-life sentence in the murder of Davis, the Bee reported.

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