STUART, Fla. — New action has been taken to keep a man accused of raping an elderly Martin County woman behind bars.
Marvin Ailon-Mendoza was arrested on May 18 on charges of sexual battery, burglary with an assault or battery while masked, and false imprisonment while masked. He was initially given a bond of $520,000.
Court records show he made a phone call from jail the day of his arrest to his sister. Records state that during the phone call, both parties spoke Spanish and Mendoza told his sister he was trying to get his passport so that he could “go back.”
Records state Mendoza is from Guatemala and not a United States citizen. The state asked a judge to increase Mendoza’s bond and require him to wear a GPS monitor should he bond out.
His booking records show his bond has increased to $1 million.
Governor Ron DeSantis this week used Mendoza’s case to support sending Florida law enforcement officers to assist Texas and Arizona in securing their southern border, citing a lack of federal assistance.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder has said Mendoza entered the country illegally years ago as an unaccompanied minor.
“I think what has been going on is a big tragedy. It’s been avoidable. There was not a crisis on January 20 on that border. Not to say everything was resolved but the policies were working and those were all thrown out for political or ideological reasons and the result has been what we have been dealing with now,” DeSantis said.
Snyder said he will be sending deputies as needed to answer DeSantis’ call for assistance. DeSantis said Florida stands to benefit from a stronger law enforcement presence at the border.
“The governor clearly believes there’s a nexus between a chaotic border and street crime in Florida,” Snyder said.
Snyder said his federal contacts explained there could be local impacts from so-called border chaos.
“They told me that open borders result in a price reduction in meth and fentanyl because it’s so easy to get across, so there is a relationship between the border and crime here in Martin County,” Snyder said.
For now, Snyder said there has not been a noticeable increase in crime by undocumented people in Martin County.
So far this year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has put holds on 24 Martin County inmates, 26 in St. Lucie County, and 11 in Indian River County.
Two have been dropped or closed in St. Lucie County.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said 11 of their holds have been dropped, but the public never gets to learn why.
“We’ve had some problem with ICE dropping holds so we have people that have ICE holds and inexplicably they’re dropped. It’s close to 50 percent,” Snyder said.
ICE officials originally told WPTV they did not have a hold on Mendoza, despite his pattern of escalating crimes. He’s been arrested in the United States for battery, as well as indecent exposure where a witness said he was at a park in front of children. During that investigation, records show he told deputies he was here illegally.
ICE will not confirm his current legal status.
However, now the sheriff’s office confirms there is an ICE hold on Mendoza.
Mendoza has plead not guilty to his charges.
Snyder is still waiting to determine how many of his deputies will go to the border, when, and who is paying them.