Cold as ICE

Constable Mike Dupree deports his ex-lover to Honduras

"Art Lizcano was shot and almost killed at a strip club—here this guy is dating a dancer there. It's the weirdest thing you ever heard of in your life," says one source who works for Dupree but did not want to be identified.

County records show that Martinez was arrested on December 6 and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement one day after it was determined he was an "illegal alien." Dupree says that he personally went to the jail to put an immigration hold on Martinez, which prevents an inmate from being released until a deportation hearing. He also packed Martinez's bags and gave the young man $300. Dupree says that Martinez was grateful for everything he had done, including arranging to have him deported.

"Frankly, I'm glad I did it, because at least he's still alive," the constable says.

Although Dupree says that his ex-lover had become entangled with drugs and gangs, the two outstanding warrants for his arrest were for driving without a license and not having driver's insurance. Martinez could not be reached for comment, and his whereabouts are unknown.

Oddly, Dupree says that Martinez wanted to return to Honduras. "He wanted to see his mom; all he kept talking about is he wanted to see his mom for Christmas."

Still, there are questions about why Dupree had to go to such unusual lengths to dispatch Martinez to Honduras. "If someone wants to be deported from this country, they can appear voluntarily and ask to leave the country," says attorney Dan Estrada, whose practice includes immigration law. Estrada says that this is a rare occurrence, and he can't recall any client coming to him and asking how he can be deported.

Experts on law enforcement were troubled by Dupree's story, particularly how personal the case clearly was to Dupree. "There needs to be some type of investigation by the county on whether there is an abuse of process; the problem is the victim is gone," says attorney David Davis, who has successfully sued law enforcement agencies throughout the state. "Someone who is willing to use their professional power because of a personal issue—there is a question if there are other moral or ethical boundaries they will cross."

Mike Keller, a former chief of police in Webster, Texas, who now works as a consultant on law enforcement issues, says that while Dupree had the legal right to arrest his ex-lover, he should have called an outside agency to remove any doubt. "Anytime you introduce your personal life into the business of policing, there is always a potential for somebody to cloud the issue."

Naturally, at a time when immigration has become a hot-button issue throughout Texas, Dupree's decision to deport Martinez will likely provoke a chorus of criticism. Although constables have police powers, their primary duty in an urban county such as Dallas is to serve civil court papers, not to work as immigration authorities.

Jesse Diaz, who serves as the president of a local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, says Dupree overstepped his job responsibilities. "If he is going to get involved in this situation, then he needs to get out of this situation and go work for ICE."

Dupree, however, sticks to his larger-than-life tale of how he acted to save his ex from the wrath of MS-13, a remarkable story if it's true. "He had people after him who were looking for him, who were going to kill him. It had nothing to do with him or I. I did this to save his life."

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