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Suspect in light rail station homicide was wanted for possible deportation

DENVER -- One of the suspects accused of trying to rob and then killing a man at a Denver light rail station was in custody and wanted for possible deportation by federal authorities when he was released from jail weeks before the homicide, federal officials said.

Ever Valles is in jail in Denver along with another man for the killing of Tim Cruz, 32, at the Sheridan light rail train station on Feb. 7. He and Nathan Valdez were formally charged with murder Friday.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement had placed a detainer on Valles after he was arrested in October for car theft and other charges.

ICE wanted to be notified of any pending release because Valles was suspected of being in the United States illegally.

ICE said in a statement that it wasn't informed when Valles was released by the sheriff department on Dec. 20. Valles is an immigration enforcement priority because he is a known gang member with a gang history documented in the Colorado gang database, ICE said.

A Denver Sheriff Department spokesman said ICE was told about Valles' release when he posted a $5,000 bond before it happened.

"Denver has never and will never advocate for felons to remain on our streets -- immigrants or not," the sheriff department said in a statement. "We are part of the criminal justice system and do not hold people on civil matters."

RELATED: Fax and time and date of transmission to ICE

A source said the sheriff department is misleading in the claim it notified ICE before Valles' release. ICE said the detainer has no expiration.

ICE was only given a 25-minute warning before Valles was released. The source said there was not enough time for ICE agents to get to the jail and take him into federal custody.

Valles and Valdez are due back in court Tuesday.