Back in the 1970s in California’s Sutter County, previously deported Mexican national Juan Corona murdered and mutilated at least 25 American farm workers. California law enforcement worked three shifts to track down the killer.
Nearly 50 years later, previously deported Mexican national Ismael Huazo-Jardinez claimed three lives in a horrific felony DUI. California’s sanctuary laws protected the Mexican national, California authorities aided the suspect’s flight, and California’s establishment media kept the truth from the public.
On Saturday, May 4, Huazo-Jardinez was speeding down Highway 113 in the agricultural community of Knight’s Landing. The driver failed to negotiate a curve and smashed his 6,000 lb. Chevrolet Avalanche into a trailer home, claiming the lives of Jose Pacheco, 38, Anna Pacheco, 34, and their son Angel, who was only 10. The crash also left the Pacheco’s daughter Mariana, 11, with serious injuries, and the child had to be airlifted to hospital.
One of the first on the scene was neighbor Steven Bravo, who told Fox News that the driver “was so intoxicated I could smell the alcohol from 10 feet away.” Huazo-Jardinez attempted to flee but neighbors tackled him and held the Mexican until police arrived.
Huazo-Jardinez was facing three counts of vehicular manslaughter, possibly four if Mariana did not pull through. In this felony DUI California Highway Patrol recommended bail of $1 million, or that the suspect be held without bail. It was not to be.
Multiple reports said “a judge” disagreed with police and set bail first at $100,000 then $300,000 both trifling amounts with three people dead and a suspect who had already attempted to flee. The felony DUI and manslaughter suspect gained bail the next day, May 5, and as one report said he was “presumably” at his residence in Yuba City.
The suspect was not quoted and his lawyer was not named. Not a single story outlined the suspect’s blood-alcohol level and rate of speed, crucial information in a DUI felony that claimed three lives. Not a single story even raised the question of the suspect’s immigration status. On Tuesday, May 7, in the California Globe, this writer broke the story that Ismael Huazo-Jardinez, 33, was in fact “an illegally present Mexican national,” as ICE said, and a previous deportee.
CHP officer David Hernandez told this writer that immigration status was “not something we ever ask.” The officer had no information on the suspect’s blood-alcohol level or rate of speed, and he was sketchy about the way an obvious flight risk had managed to gain release on bail. Like local print and television reporters, the officer did not know the name of “a judge” who had granted bail.
Sutter County Deputy District Attorney Cameron King told this writer that judge David Ashby, a 2016 appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown, had granted Huazo-Jardinez bail of $300,000. King also revealed that the bail had been arranged through McMains Bail Bonds in Oroville, more than 20 miles away and in a different county.
A representative of McMains explained that the bail had been arranged through Jesse Santana, an attorney with Santana and Carlos in Yuba City. At this writing, attorney Santana has not responded to requests for information, and a May 7 email from Sutter Superior Court CEO Stephanie Hansel said “It would be improper for the court to comment on any pending matter.”
Apprised of the bail, ICE initiated surveillance on Huazo-Jardinez and arrested him without incident on the afternoon of May 7. It was only after the arrest that news outlets acknowledged that, as ICE verified, the suspect was a Mexican national illegally present in the United States. Still, an Associated Press story by Paul Elias claimed that Ismael Huazo-Jardinez, is “suspected of living in the country illegally.”
The illegal is actually suspected of driving drunk and killing three people. Landlord Frankie Gonsalves told reporters the Pachecos were a “model family. Two very hardworking parents, farmworkers, well-behaved kids. Really good people, pay their rent on time.” At this writing, Mariana has been upgraded to “fair” condition but the crash also claimed the trailer residence of the orphan’s grandparents next door.
Ismael Huazo-Jardinez remains in ICE custody “pending the disposition of his immigration proceedings.” If he fails to make a June 10 court date, McMains will be on the hook for $300,000. According to a May 8 statement from ICE:
“It’s unfortunate that current local and state laws and policies tie the hands of local law enforcement agencies that want and need to work with ICE to promote public safety by holding criminals accountable and providing justice and closure for their victims. Sanctuary policies not only provide a refuge for illegal aliens, but they also shield criminal aliens who prey on people in their own and other communities.”
The deaths of Jose, Anna and Angel Pacheco prompted no statement from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a supporter of the state’s sanctuary law. Governor Gavin Newsom, who in his inaugural address said California offers sanctuary to “all who seek it,” made no statement on the Knight’s Landing vehicular manslaughter case. On the other hand, on March 12, Gov. Newsom granted reprieve to all 737 convicted murderers on California’s death row.
Had famous criminals Juan Corona and Charles Manson been sentenced to death and endured until the governor’s edict, they too would have gained reprieve. Mass murderer Juan Corona died on March 4, at the age of 85. His fellow inmate Charles Manson died at 83 on November 19, 2017.