LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Steven J. Mocsary, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility, Donald J. Balberchak, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, and Al Lamberti, Sheriff, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, announced the filing of criminal complaint and arrest warrant against defendant, Wilfredo Vazquez. The complaint, filed late on Friday, charges Vazquez with three counts of knowingly causing a detainee under his supervision to engage in a sexual act, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2241(a)(1), 2242(1); and 2243(b)(2). Vazquez was arrested Friday afternoon in Tampa, Florida, by federal agents and is expected to make his initial appearance in Tampa federal court later today. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
According to the complaint, on September 21, 2007, the victim, “M.C.,” was being transferred to the Broward Transition Center from the Krome Service and Processing Center to await deportation to Jamaica. Immigration Enforcement Agent Wilfredo Vazquez agreed to transport M.C. to the Broward Transition Center from Krome. During that transport, Vazquez removed M.C.’s restraints and sat her in the back section of the van behind a partition. While still waiting to exit the Krome facility, Vazquez told M.C. that he would move her to the front of the vehicle after they left Krome if she was a “good girl.” A short time after they left Krome in the van, Vazquez pulled over to the side of the road and escorted M.C. to the front passenger seat. Vazquez then allowed M.C. to use his personal cellular telephone to make personal calls. Following these calls, Vazquez asked M.C. to show him her underwear, but M.C. refused. Vazquez then told M.C. that he wanted to have oral sex with her and that he was taking her to his house for this purpose. Vazquez then drove M.C. to his residence in Tamarac, Florida.
According to the complaint affidavit, M.C. described in detail the route to Vazquez’s home. In addition, M.C. allegedly provided law enforcement with a very detailed description of the exterior and interior of the residence. She stated that once in the residence, Vazquez directed her to take off her clothes, and that Vazquez returned to the room with a condom. Immediately thereafter, Vazquez allegedly began to stimulate M.C. M.C. stated that she did not outwardly resist Vazquez because she was afraid of him and he wore his firearm at all times. According to M.C., Vazquez then forced her to engage in oral sex and to have sexual intercourse with him.
Thereafter, Vazquez and M.C. continued the trip to the Broward Transition Center. Vazquez again placed M.C. in the front of seat the van, where she remained until Vazquez stopped at a gas station next to the Broward Transition Center. At the gas station, Vazquez placed M.C. back in the rear section of the van and drove to the Broward Transition Center, nearly two hours after having left Krome.
On September 27, 2007, Vazquez agreed to be interviewed by law enforcement. During this interview, Vazquez denied making any stops between Krome and the Broward Transition Center, other than at the gas station. Vazquez also denied taking M.C. to his house, and having had any sexual contact with M.C. Subsequent investigation, however, confirmed M.C.’s description of the exterior and interior of Vazquez’s residence. Additionally, a review of the SunPass transponder records of the vehicle used by Vazquez to transport M.C. confirmed that Vazquez exited the Florida Turnpike towards his home before arriving at the Broward Transition Center.
U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta stated, “When a federal officer abuses his position and his power to harm someone in his custody, the harm he causes goes well beyond the individual victim. The act also violates the public’s trust and shakes the public’s confidence in our system. The U.S. Attorney’s office is committed to bolstering confidence in our law enforcement officers by prosecuting those — whether federal, state or local officers — who misuse their office.”
“ICE takes employee misconduct very seriously,” said Steven J. Mocsary, Special Agent in Charge of the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility in Ft. Lauderdale. “All allegations of misconduct are investigated thoroughly and swift corrective action is taken when appropriate.”
Donald J. Balberchak, Special Agent in Charge of the DHS Office of Inspector General said “The Office of Inspector General will aggressively pursue allegations of employee misconduct. The efforts of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office were instrumental in this investigation.”
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the ICE-OPR, DHS-OIG, and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Rashbaum.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.