Suspect in senseless gang murder should have been deported

It would seem San Francisco doesn’t need to bother declaring itself a sanctuary city anymore. If an alleged MS-13 gangbanger who is also an illegal immigrant from El Salvador is arrested on felony charges in the Bay Area and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation, as federal law requires, the agency might just let him go.

At first, the deportee would have to wear an electronic ankle bracelet tracking his whereabouts. But soon enough, the ankle bracelet would be removed and he would only be required to personally check in with ICE agents on a regular schedule.

That is apparently what happened with Davie Jimmy “Loco” Mejia-Sensente, 27, of Daly City, who was indicted May 5 in connection with the June 2010 murder of a Daly City restaurant worker who police say might merely have been mistaken for a rival gang member.

An ICE spokeswoman said Mejia-Sensente was given “supervised release” because he had no prior convictions, and the decision was “based upon a thorough review of his case.”

The killing happened only 12 days after the ICE took off Mejia-Sensente’s ankle bracelet. On the evening of June 21, 2010, Alexander Temaj-Castanon, a 26-year-old cook at Baby Blues Barbecue on Mission Street, was shot in the head as he got off a Muni bus at Mission Street and San Jose Avenue, coming home from his job.

Mejia-Sensente’s first local arrest was May 7, 2009, when the San Francisco gang task force and Daly City police raided his apartment. Officers reported finding a handgun, bullets, marijuana, cocaine and MS-13 drawings. Police described Mejia-Sensente as having “numerous” MS-13 tattoos and said they knew from “prior contacts” that he was a gang member.

What happened next boggles the mind. San Mateo County prosecutors decided they didn’t have sufficient evidence to file a drug charge. Mejia-Sensente was transferred to the ICE for deportation. But the federal agency just put him back on the street pending the outcome of his still-unresolved immigration case.

Mejia-Sensente and a San Francisco man were actually arrested Sept. 10 in connection with the bus-stop murder. But San Mateo County prosecutors again refused to file charges, this time citing a need for further investigation.

The ICE took custody of Mejia-Sensente a second time Sept. 17. Four days later, federal prosecutors followed up the May 2009 raid, charging him with illegal possession of ammunition. This time, the feds fought down his bail requests, describing Mejia-Sensente as a member of “a notoriously dangerous street gang” implicated in multiple acts of violence, and thus a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Finally, on May 5 federal prosecutors indicted Mejia-Sensente and two other men for the seemingly pointless mistaken-identity murder of a Daly City restaurant worker. And, quite possibly, this murder would not have happened if the ICE had deported Mejia-Sensente the first time it had him — the way it was supposed to.

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