A border crosser released into the United States as an “Unaccompanied Alien Child” (UAC) has been arrested for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl.
Linder Meza-Garcia, an 18-year-old UAC who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree rape in Montgomery County, Maryland, according to ABC7 News’s Kevin Lewis.
Meza-Garcia, Lewis reports, is accused of sneaking into the girl’s bedroom on at least four occasions. In three incidences, police officials allege, Meza-Garcia and the girl had intercourse. Police said Meza-Garcia admitted to having intercourse with the girl.
After his arrest on June 16, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency placed a detainer on Meza-Garcia so that he would be placed into their custody if released from local police custody.
A day after his arrest, Meza-Garcia was granted $10,000 bail and released. Immediately, though, ICE agents apprehended the UAC and took him into custody.
In April 2019, Meza-Garcia illegally crossed the southern border and was apprehended by Border Patrol agents, according to information released by ICE to Lewis. After two months in custody, Meza-Garcia was released into the U.S. as a UAC.
Meza-Garcia, if convicted, faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.
Every year, tens of thousands of young border crossers are released as UACs into the interior of the U.S. In Fiscal Year 2019, the federal government released nearly 70,000 UACs into the U.S. — 71 percent of which were male and 72 percent were over the age of 14 years old. About 75 percent of all UACs released last year were from Guatemala and Honduras.