Ismael Huazo-Jardinez, the previously deported illegal Mexican immigrant charged with vehicular manslaughter for a May 4 felony DUI crash in Knight’s Landing, now faces two counts of “alien in possession of a firearm while unlawfully in the United States,” according to a June 4 report by Ja’Nel Johnson of ABC News.
The May 4 crash claimed the lives of Jose Pacheco, 38, Anna Pacheco, 34, and their 10-year-old son Angel Pacheco. Mariana, the Pacheco’s 11-year-old daughter, was taken to the hospital in critical condition and later released.
On May 8, police found a handgun in the center console of the illegal immigrant’s Chevrolet Avalanche. As Johnson reports, “the handgun had been reported stolen to the Boise Police Department on December 29, 2017.” A search of the illegal immigrant’s residence yielded a second firearm, “registered to someone in Colusa County.”
ABC’s Johnson provided another detail missing from the triple manslaughter and felony DUI charge, and which police did not reveal to reporters. According to his preliminary screening test, the blood-alcohol content of the Huazo-Jardinez was .122, far beyond the legal limit of .080 for driving.
On May 28, Sutter County officials charged the illegal alien with three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, with four enhancements for great bodily injury or death. On May 31, Sutter county deputy district attorney Cameron King told Johnson, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed the gun charges.
ABC’s Ja’Nel Johnson and Rachel Rosenbaum of the Appeal-Democrat, on June 3, were the first reporters to break news of the federal firearms charges. A June 13 story by Sam Stanton of the Sacramento Bee revealed that a search of Huazo-Jardinez’s residence turned up 9mm ammunition, $12,000 in cash and more than two dozen cell phones. Police also found a Mexican passport and a bag packed with clothes, signs that he was preparing to flee the country when arrested.
Initial reports on the case in May failed to mention that Huazo-Jardinez was illegally present in the United States. The California Globe broke that story, along with other irregularities in the case.
Rarely, if ever, do judges grant bail to a suspect in a triple manslaughter felony DUI case, especially one who had already attempted to flee the scene, as the drunken Huazo-Jardinez attempted. Early news reports failed to identify the Sutter County judge who allowed bail for the suspect.
Deputy DA Cameron King told the Globe that Sutter County Judge David Ashby, a 2016 appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown, had allowed Huazo-Jardinez to post bail. When the Globe asked why Judge Ashby had granted bail in the case, Sutter Superior Court CEO Stephanie M. Hansel responded in an email, “It would be improper for the court to comment on any pending matter.”
According to King, Ismael Huazo-Jardinez posted bail through McMains Bail Bonds in Oroville, more than 20 miles away from Yuba City, and in a different county. McMains Bail Bonds was unaware of the suspect’s attempts to flee the scene. With bail set at $300,000, McMains told the Globe, the suspect would have to produce $30,000 in cash or the equivalent in collateral.
A representative of McMains told the Globe that Huazo-Jardinez’s bail had been handled by Jesse Santana, an attorney with Santana and Carlos in Yuba City. Phone and email requests for details on the Mexican illegal immigrant’s bail arrangements were not returned. On Monday, McMains was “not showing anyone who signed for him,” so how a flight risk such as Huazo-Jardinez made bail remains something of a mystery.
Bail was duly granted but ICE apprehended Huazo-Jardinez the next day. According to Johnson’s report, federal gun charges halted deportation of the Mexican national on June 3. He is slated for an appearance in federal court on June 17 and in Sutter County court on August 5.