Woman held in local jail for 3 years handed over to ICE before court

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) A Waco woman who’s been held in the McLennan County Jail for three years awaiting her court date was spirited out of the jail and handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement late Thursday night, just days before her scheduled court appearance next Tuesday, supporters say.

Estela Fajardo has been in custody on an ICE hold in either the McLennan County Jail or the Jack Harwell Detention Center since her arrest

“Late (Thursday) night, the District Attorney’s Office handed Fajardo over to ICE custody without notifying her legal team, Hope Mustakim, executive director of the Waco Immigrants Alliance said in a news release Friday afternoon.

“WIA and her attorneys only learned of her location at 8 a.m. Friday, along with ICE’s intentions to deport her expeditiously,” Mustakim wrote.

“WIA and Fajardo’s legal team believe the DA’s office is undermining the legal process that would vindicate her,” she said.

Mustakim said WIA has planned a news conference for Monday outside the McLennan County Courthouse “calling for answers from lame-duck District Attorney Abel Reyna.”

Fajardo, 46, came to the United States illegally from Mexico as a 14-year-old, but she’s been locked up since January 2016, when she was arrested on criminal charges, although she has never been indicted for any of them, county records show.

She’s watched her Dylan, youngest son, turn 2, then 3, and shortly he’ll be 4.

“Fajardo has maintained her innocence, all the while facing ongoing, documented retaliation at the hands of jail staff after going public with her claims of sexual assault in the Jack Harwell Detention Center,” the news release says.

Fajardo has filed a lawsuit in 74th State District Court naming Southwest Correctional, the parent company of LaSalle Corrections and a LaSalle corrections officer that seeks damages of $200,000 to $1 million.

The lawsuit alleges the officer made unwanted and inappropriate remarks of a sexual nature towards Fajardo and several times made physical contact with her body.

WIA wants the criminal charges against Fajardo dropped and wants an explanation from Reyna.

Reyna could not be reached for comment Friday.