Criminal Alien Report 03-07-23 By David Cross

Lars Larson Show: Criminal Alien of the Week Report

March 7, 2023


This week we have in first full week in the month of March 2023 a “Criminal Alien of the Week Report” for your radio listeners and webpage followers that is an update on a criminal case of an illegal alien who killed an adult female Oregon resident more than a decade ago.

Ignacio Merendon-Zerega (Case Number: CR070606; SID: 7213917; DOB: 11-04-1962) was convicted and sentenced May 5, 2008 in Yamhill County Circuit Court for one count of Manslaughter in the First Degree and one count Driving Under Influence Felony for killing Judyth Anne Cox, a 66-year old wife, mother of two and grandmother of six, a resident of Newberg, Oregon in Yamhill County on December 3, 2007.

A past Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) Oregon Offender Search webpage search revealed Ignacio Merendon-Zerega entered the DOC prison system on May 6, 2008 with his earliest release date being March 27, 2022.

According to “Criminal alien of the Week” DOC records Ignacio Merendon-Zerega was last incarcerated at the Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI) located in Ontario, Oregon.

During time period from when Ignacio Merendon-Zerega was incarcerated at the Yamhill County Jail on December 3, 2007 and in the Oregon Department of Corrections prison system a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigration detainer was placed on him.

Prior to killing Mrs. Cox Ignacio Merendon-Zerega was convicted of Driving Under the Influence Intoxicants (DUII) five times between 1989 and 2003 in Marion County, Oregon (Case Numbers: 89D104053-D, 92D101724-D, 02C44164, 03C42060 and 03C54366).

According to former Pacific Northwest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Public Affairs Officer (PAO) Tanya Roman statement from October 11, 2018 Mexican national Ignacio Merendon-Zerega was illegally in the United States, an immigration detainer was placed on him while he was incarcerated in the DOC prison system, furthermore, he had one prior removal from the country.

Knowing the estimated release date of Ignacio Merendon-Zerega, the “Criminal Alien of the Week Report” contacted on April 8, 2022 Oregon Department of Corrections Communications Manager Jennifer Black with the following two questions:

Did the DOC on or after the date of March 27, 2022 release or turnover custody of Ignacio Merendon-Zerega to ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)?

Big picture, since the passage of Oregon House Bill 3265 during the 2021 Legislative Session is the DOC turning over custody of dangerous criminal aliens like Ignacio Merendon-Zerega who have completed their prison sentences to ICE?

On April 18, 2022 DOC Legislative and Government Relations Manager Marie D. Garcia responded to the “Criminal Alien of the Week Report” questions:

“Thank you for reaching out to the Department of Corrections (DOC) with questions related to Mr. Merendon-Zerega and implementation of HB 3265. Communications Manager Jennifer Black has forwarded your email to me for response.

Since passage of HB 3265, DOC has adhered to its requirements including, but not limited, to Section 2(1)(c): “(1) A law enforcement agency or public body may not: (c) provide information about an individual in the custody of the public body or law enforcement agency to a federal immigration authority for the purpose of civil immigration enforcement” as well as Section 3(1)-(2)(b): “(1) Public facilities, property, moneys, equipment, technology or personnel may not be used for the purpose of investigating, detecting, apprehending, arresting, detaining or holding individuals for immigration enforcement. (2) Actions with a purpose described in subsection (1) of this section include, but are not limited to, the following: (b) Supporting or assisting a federal agency in immigration enforcement.”

Within that legislative framework, the agency is no longer facilitating the transition of releasing adults in custody (AIC) into the custody of ICE. Mr. Merendon-Zerega was released to post-prison supervision in Marion County on March 27, 2022. Under the provisions of HB 3265, that process would be the same for any AIC in similar circumstances.” – Marie D. Garcia, DOC Legislative and Government Relations Manager.

On April 11, 2022 the “Criminal Alien of the Week Report” sent via e-mail U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), Seattle Field Office extensive details of Ignacio Merendon-Zerega’s release from the DOC prison system and his last suspected location while on probation in Marion County, Oregon.

On April 12, 2022 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations confirmed via e-mail receiving the April 11, 2022 e-mail from the “Criminal Alien of the Week” reporter.

Seeking information on Ignacio Merendon-Zerega’s current immigration status on Monday, February 27, 2023 the “Criminal Alien of the Week Report” contacted via e-mail U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Public Affairs Director of Communications, Northwest Region, (WCD) Alethea Smock.

According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Case Load Report concerning parole or probation on March 4, 2023 Ignacio Merendon-Zerega was on limited supervision in Marion County.

On Monday, March 6, 2023 ICE Public Affairs Director of Communications, Northwest Region, Smock responded via e-mail with the following statement on Ignacio Merendon-Zerega:


Ignacio Merendon Zerega, 62, is a Mexican national who is currently at large following his release from prison after serving sentences for manslaughter, driving under the influence, assault, and driving with a suspended or revoked license. Merendon Zerega entered the U.S. at an unknown date or location, and an immigration judge ordered him removed to Mexico July 21, 2006. At an unknown date or location, Merendon Zerega reentered the U.S.

Enforcement and Removal Operations officers encountered Merendon Zerega while in custody at the Yamhill County (Oregon) Jail following his arrest on multiple charges Dec. 3, 2007, placing an immigration detainer the next day. The Yamhill County Circuit Court, Oregon, convicted Merendon Zerega of manslaughter, sentencing him to 180 months prison and 3 years post-prison supervision, driving under the influence, sentencing him to 60 months prison and 2 years post-prison supervision, assault, sentencing him to 1 year jail, and driving with a suspended or revoked license, sentencing him to 12 months jail.

On March 25, 2009, ERO Seattle again encountered Merendon Zerega while in custody in Marion County Oregon for his convictions and placed an immigration detainer the following day based on a review of his immigration and criminal histories.

The Oregon Department of Corrections released Merendon Zerega without notification to ERO Seattle as requested by the detainer and he is currently at large.

Enforcement and Removal Operations places immigration detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who the agency has probable cause to believe are removable under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The detainer requests the other law enforcement agency to notify ERO before a removable individual is released from custody and to maintain custody of the non-citizen for a brief period so that ERO can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody.” – Alethea Smock, ICE Public Affairs Director of Communications, Northwest Region.

Anaysis, the Oregon Department of Corrections release of convicted felon killer, serial DUII driver, criminal illegal alien Ignacio Merendon-Zerega back into the state of Oregon is the direct result of sanctuary laws; like HB 3265 passed by Oregon State Legislature in 2021, anti-federal immigration enforcement laws, that prevent DOC prison officials and all the state’s law enforcement agencies from cooperating with ICE Enforcement Removal Operations in the removal of real bad dysfunctional people from the United States of America.

Ignacio Merendon-Zerega now being out of custody of both the Oregon Department of Corrections and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is just the tip of the iceberg of criminal aliens being released from the DOC prison system back into the state without the notification of ICE Enforcement Removal Operations.

Just four days later, after the time of Mexican national Ignacio Merendon-Zerega’s March 27, 2022 release from the DOC prison system, on April 1, 2022 there were 660 criminal aliens with immigration detainers incarcerated in the state’s prisons, eight months later, on December 1, 2022 there were 595 criminal aliens with immigration detainers incarcerated in the state’s prisons — the difference of these preceding numbers mean at least 65 criminal aliens with immigration detainers were released back into Oregon counties without DOC prison officials notifying ICE Enforcement Removal Operations of their release from prison.

Lars, the first full week in the month of March 2023 and another “Criminal Alien of the Week Report” for Lars Larson Show KXL FM 101.1 Pacific Northwest radio listeners and website followers.

David Olen Cross