Sheriff investigates why undocumented immigrant was released before deputies notified ICE

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DENVER -- An internal investigation is underway at the Denver Sheriff’s Department to examine why Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were not properly notified of the release of an undocumented immigrant accused of causing a deadly DUI crash earlier this month.

Sheriff Patrick Firman said he believes this is the first time something like this has happened within his department.

By policy, Denver refuses to hold inmates for ICE without a warrant, but deputies are expected to give agents a courtesy notification before a release.

That did not happen in the case of Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda, who is suspected of causing a DUI crash on Interstate 70 that killed a man.

“We had a really bad weekend,” Firman said.

Firman has ordered a review of all policies and procedures relating to inmate releases.

Zamarripa-Castaneda posted a $25,000 bond Saturday morning. He was released at 5:26 p.m., but ICE wasn't notified until 6:33 p.m.

“We had the request. We just didn’t get it out in time,” Firman said.

Firman said it’s too early to discuss possible discipline for anyone who might have been involved. He said the department is still trying to see if the issue was caused by human error.

“This was shocking to know that something like this happened, and we want to make sure we understand why it happened,” Firman said.

The sheriff’s department receives 15 to 17 ICE requests a month.

The suspect is scheduled to be in court on April 2. His current whereabouts are unknown.

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