Saturday night, acting on information provided by Oak Bluffs Detective Jeffrey LaBell, Edgartown Police arrested Leandro Miranda, 24, a Brazilian national last seen in March leaving the Dukes County House of Correction in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. He was deported on May 27 to Brazil, according to ICE.
His arraignment Monday was a reunion of sorts for Oak Bluffs and Edgartown police and court officials. Last year, between March 2 and August 28, Mr. Miranda amassed a long record of serious driving offenses resulting in five separate arrests. In three of those incidents, Mr. Miranda tried to flee or evade police, according to court records, including twice when he fled in his vehicle at high speeds.
One of those arrests occurred on July 4, at 1:30 pm. Oak Bluffs was packed with tourists, walking, biking, and driving on downtown streets. Detective LaBell, patrolling in a marked police cruiser with Officer Michael Cotrone, spotted Mr. Miranda driving the same Chrysler 300 he had previously been arrested driving on Dukes County Avenue. He activated his blue lights. Mr. Miranda failed to stop, and sped away. In his effort to elude police, Mr. LaBell said in his report, Mr. Miranda drove in the oncoming lane and passed a line of vehicles waiting at a stop sign. He eventually stopped his car and fled on foot into the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association campgrounds, where Officer Cotrone eventually caught up with him and tackled him.
Police seized two nips of alcohol from his pockets, and part of a 12-pack of beer, still cold, in his vehicle.
Last October, in a series of plea deals related to his earlier arrests, Mr. Miranda pleaded guilty to drunk driving, failing to stop for police, and resisting arrest. Edgartown District Court Justice H. Gregory Williams sentenced Mr. Miranda to 2.5 years in a house of correction, with nine months to serve, and the balance suspended for two years of probation.
Although ICE was notified shortly after Mr. Miranda’s first arrest on March 2, 2014, federal immigration authorities took no action until August 28, following his fifth arrest, according to court documents. ICE then issued a detainee order, requiring local authorities to hold Mr. Miranda in custody for 48 hours once his jail sentence and any other court proceedings were finished. According to the detainee order, ICE had “determined that there is reason to believe the individual is an alien subject to removal from the United States.”
In March, ICE agents arrived at the Dukes County House of Correction to take custody of Mr. Miranda, Dukes County Sheriff Mike McCormack confirmed.
Shawn Neudauer, ICE press officer, told The Times that Mr. Miranda was booked into Bristol County Jail in March and ordered removed by a federal immigration judge on May “and he was deported on May 27 to Brazil.”
Mr. Neudauer said that reentering the country after being legally deported is a federal felony. It will be up to a U.S. attorney, he said, if Mr. Miranda will be prosecuted on the felony charge.
“He’s obviously shown complete disregard for U.S. law,” Mr. Neudauer said.
Mr. Neudauer said that going forward, once in ICE custody Mr. Miranda will not be afforded another hearing before an immigration judge. “As far as federal due process is concerned,” he said, “from our perspective we may present him to the U.S. Attorney’s office for federal prosecution for criminal violation, but if they decline that for whatever reason, we would reinstate his prior order. He would not go back in front of a U.S. immigration judge, because he’s already been there.”
Tip and an arrest
At about 8 pm on Saturday, August 15, Edgartown police officers, acting on a tip Detective LaBell provided that Mr. Miranda had just been dropped off, knocked on the door of a house at 25 Morgan Way in the Morgan Woods housing complex. A female resident gave police permission to search the house, according to the police report.
Officer Curtis Chandler and Sergeant Craig Edwards opened a locked bedroom door and found Mr. Miranda hiding in a closet. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant in connection with his earlier court case.
Mr. Miranda is currently held without bail in the Dukes County Jail. ICE has issued a detainee order, jail officials confirmed.
Island police said Mr. Miranda’s reappearance is frustrating but not surprising. “It’s frustrating for us to see him reappear,” Oak Bluffs Police Lieutenant Tim Williamson said.