Charged with choking girlfriend, Ecuadorean man in ICE custody

EH: Three Times Arrested, Soon Twice Deported




Independent/T. E. McMorrow

A 30-year-old Ecuadorean man is about to be deported for the second time to his home country by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. He was previously deported in 2010 after being arrested twice that year by East Hampton Town police on felony burglary charges. Now, Victor Sojos-Valladares is back in ICE’s hands after being turned over by East Hampton Town police following his August 21 arrest on a misdemeanor choking charge.

Police interviewed Sojos-Valladares’ alleged victim at Southampton Hospital shortly after the incident occurred, where she told police that while in their bedroom, a situation involving Sojos-Valladares going through her cell phone history escalated quickly. He pulled her hair, struck her repeatedly, and put her in a chokehold during which she began to pass out, she told police. He reportedly left the room, and the woman ran out into the street, where a passing motorist took her in.

Sojos-Valladares was picked up by police shortly after they interviewed the alleged victim. Besides the misdemeanor choking charge, he was hit with a violation-level harassment charge. He was held overnight to be arraigned in East Hampton Town Justice Court August 22. There, Justice Lisa Rana reviewed his record, which apparently includes a felony conviction. Sojos-Valladares had been back in East Hampton for six months, and has two children in Ecuador, according to Sheila Mullahy of the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society, who represented him.

“The court is very concerned about the nature of these charges,” Rana said, setting bail at $2000. A few supporters who were in court told Mullahy bail would be posted later in the day, but that did not happen.

Under federal law, anyone who reenters the country illegally after being deported following a felony conviction faces 10 years in federal prison. ICE obtained a warrant and picked up Sojos-Valladares that afternoon, where he is still in custody, ICE agents confirmed August 24. Even if not previously convicted of a felony, illegally reentering the U.S. following deportation carries a year in federal prison as a possible penalty.

According to East Hampton Town Justice Court records, as well as published reports, in April of 2010, Sojos-Valladares, then 20, allegedly climbed into the bedroom of a sleeping woman he did not know and began kissing her. She woke up screaming, and he fled, but was picked up a week later, and charged with burglary, plus a misdemeanor charge of sexual abuse. That case was not presented to a grand jury, and on August 11, he pleaded guilty to a violation charge of harassment.

Three days after entering that plea, Sojos-Valladares was arrested on an alleged burglary charge, plus two misdemeanors — petty larceny and endangering the welfare of a child. That time, the case was presented to a grand jury, which indicted Sojos-Valladares. The details behind the second 2010 arrest and charges were not available as of press time, but he was ultimately deported.

t.e@indyeastend.com