Boyle Heights woman, cleared of drug bust involvement, faces deportation

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Demonstrators are protesting the detention of a woman who is facing deportation following a Boyle Heights drug bust that sheriff's deputies say she had no involvement in. (KABC / Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)

A woman is facing deportation following a Boyle Heights drug bust that sheriff's deputies said she had no involvement in.

Protesters gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday to demand the immediate release of Teresa Vidal-Jaime, who they said was picked up by federal authorities following a drug bust at the Boyle Heights complex where she lives.

On Monday, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's narcotics investigators received information from the U.S. Border Patrol regarding a car suspected of cross-border narcotics smuggling that was headed to the L.A. area.

Following this tip, investigators seized more than 30 pounds of cocaine and approximately $600,000 in cash at the Boyle Heights location. Vidal-Jaime's husband was arrested for drug possession.

Sheriff's officials initially detained Vidal-Jaime but released her because investigators determined she was not involved in the crime.

In a press release about the drug bust, sheriff's officials emphasized that LASD personnel did not question any individuals regarding their immigration status during the investigation.

"While this was a criminal investigation involving Border Patrol agents, the LASD does not enforce immigration laws, nor ask about immigration status. In fact, deputies do not ask immigration status of ANY person, including a victim or witness to any crime. Immigration enforcement is the responsibility of the federal government," the release stated, adding that sheriff's personnel "were not involved in the continued investigation conducted by the U.S. Border Patrol agents."

Nevertheless, U.S. Border Patrol officials took Vidal-Jaime into custody, because she was in the country illegally.

"Our communities are always so over-policed, and we want that to stop. We want to stop fearing that that they can take our family members at any point," said Marcela Hernandez with the Immigrant Youth Coalition

Border Patrol officials said she's being held in Chula Vista awaiting deportation proceedings.
Related Topics:
newsimmigrationdeportationdrug bustlos angeles county sheriff's departmentborder patrolarrestdrugsillegal drugsprotestBoyle HeightsLos AngelesSan Diego County
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