What to Know
- A suspected serial rapist charged with posing as a ride-hailing driver to prey on his victims was reportedly living in the country illegally
- ICE said it plans to deport Orlando Vilchez Lazo, 36, to his native Peru if he's released from custody on the rape case
- Vilchez Lazo was arrested last week on multiple allegations, including four counts of felony rape
A suspected serial rapist charged with posing as a Bay Area ride-hailing driver to prey on his victims was living in the country illegally, federal immigration authorities said Tuesday.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said it plans to deport Orlando Vilchez Lazo, 36, to his native Peru if he's released from custody on the rape case.
Vilchez Lazo was arrested last week on multiple allegations, including four counts of felony rape. He is accused of posing as a Lyft driver, picking up women in bars and sexually assaulting them. Police say his DNA match four victims so far.
"There’s a kidnapping with intent to commit rape and many other charges involving rape allegations as well," said District Attorney Spokesman Alex Bastian.
ICE said it formally asked the San Francisco Sheriff's Department on Friday to detain Lazo for federal immigration custody if he's ordered released from jail.
But officials said they believe the request will be ignored because San Francisco's so-called sanctuary city policy bars local authorities from cooperating with most deportation efforts.
"We’d urge the media not to become a spokesman for ICE and their political agenda," said Vilchez Lazo's attorney Eric Quandt.
ICE officials criticized the San Francisco's immigration policy, which has also been adopted in scores of cities and counties across the nation. The policy "not only provides a refuge for illegal aliens, but it also shields criminal aliens who prey on people in the community," ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said.
Vilchez Lazo's case doesn't have anything to do with the city's sanctuary city policy, in fact, an ICE spokesman said their statement was routine language about anyone in custody in a sanctuary city.
"Well I think it’s apples and oranges," said San Francisco Sheriff's Deputy Vicki Hennessy. "I don’t think it’s actually truthful about what’s going on here."
Vilchez Lazo did not enter a plea deal in his court date Tuesday and his arrangnment was put off until Thursday.
"Our hearts go out to those affected by these deeply disturbing acts," said Lyft in a statement. "Individuals who drive for Lyft must be eligible to work in the United States. Unfortunately in this circumstance, this person fraudulently represented himself. We stand ready to work with law enforcement and are actively addressing this case of fraud with our background check provider."
President Donald Trump made opposition to sanctuary city laws one of his main campaign themes. Trump took particular aim at San Francisco's policy after a man federal authorities say was living in the country illegally was charged with shooting to death Kate Steinle in July 2015.
The San Francisco sheriff's department ignored an ICE request to detain Jose Ines Garcia Zarate after local marijuana charges were dropped several weeks before Steinle was shot while walking on a popular pedestrian pier with her father.
A jury acquitted Garcia Zarate of murder and homicide charges after he said the gun that killed Steinle accidentally fired when he found it underneath the pier bench he was sitting on.
Garcia Zarate is now in federal custody after the U.S. Attorney's office charged him with two illegal gun possession charges.
He has pleaded not guilty and faces trial later this year.
Mark Matthews contributed to this article.