Illegal immigrant out on bail now accused of rape

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 5:16 PM EDT
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DELHI, NY (WBNG) -- The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office announced the indictment of a man on rape, strangulation and unlawful imprisonment charges Tuesday afternoon.

Acting District Attorney Shawn Smith said Cruz Garcia, 43, was indicted by a grand jury on the charges of rape in the first degree, strangulation in the second degree and unlawful imprisonment in the first degree on Aug. 10.

Smith said the crimes against the victim occurred on July 25, when Garcia was released on separate unrelated felony charges from Orange County. The victim has been transported to the hospital emergency room due to the injuries she sustained.

According to Smith, on June 12, Garcia was arraigned on several felony charges in Orange County Court. Those charges include felony DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree. Garcia was out in accordance with New York State’s controversial bail reform laws.

Smith said Garcia does not have any legal status in the United States and he was wanted by ICE, or Immigration & Customs Enforcement, due to an unrelated criminal conviction, prior to the Orange County and Delaware County indictments.

The crimes allegedly committed by Garcia drew ire from federal and state politicians, who took aim at New York’s State bail reform laws.

“What we are seeing is a preventable tragedy precipitated by Albany’s bail reform laws and failed migrant policy,” said Representative Marc Molinaro (R, NY-19). “We need to stop accepting failed policies that put families in our communities in danger. There is nothing controversial or partisan about prioritizing the safety of Upstate New Yorkers.”

“This case clearly highlights the dual failures of Albany and Washington,” said State Senator Peter Oberacker (R, 51). “The absence of any practical immigration policy coupled with the proven debacle known as bail reform is endangering public life on a daily basis. Dangerous criminals continue to receive a pass here in New York State and our police and prosecutors are forced to continually fight upstream to do their jobs.”

New York’s bail reform laws went into effect at the start of 2020. They eliminated bail reform for most misdemeanors and some non-violent felony crimes in an effort to reduce the number of poor people in jails. They’ve remained a hot political topic in New York State since before their implementation.

In her 2023 State of the State Address, Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said the laws could use some tweaking but an overhaul of the laws would not lead to lower crime rates.

Currently, Garcia is in the custody of ICE in Batavia, NY. He is awaiting deportation proceedings. Acting District Attorney Smith said he will make sure Garcia is held accountable for the crimes he is accused of before the proceedings are complete.