Authorities have arrested a man who entered the country illegally for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
The girl, now 17, reported to the sheriff’s office on Jan. 17 that Noe Ramirez-Lopez , 32, was at her place of employment causing a disturbance and assaulted her, according to a news release. Deputies were called, but when they arrived, Lopez-Ramirez had already left the area. That’s when she reported the incident to deputies.
The girl told officials she did not report the relationship sooner because she was afraid for her safety and her own immigration status.
Investigators noted in the affidavit that Ramirez-Lopez knew the girl was a minor at the time.
The girl is in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services, according to the sheriff’s office.
Ramirez-Lopez was located by officials at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa. He was arrested on a warrant and booked into Hillsborough County jail Tuesday before being moved to the Sarasota County jail Thursday on one count of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
In the investigation, officials said detectives learned Ramirez-Lopez was arrested in August 2008 by Sarasota police for not having a valid driver’s license and released on $500 bond. He was taken into custody a week later by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, which contacted the U.S. Border Patrol. Ramirez-Lopez asked for a speedy deportation hearing and was deported to Guatemala on Aug. 21, 2008.
He was banned from returning to the United States, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
After Thursday’s arrest, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is also charging Ramirez-Lopez with re-entry after deportation, the sheriff’s office announced.
Last month, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight and 16 other sheriffs in Florida joined together to announce the basic ordering agreement with ICE that aims to prevent the release of those who have entered the country illegally and committed crimes from going back into the community.
“This is a prime example of why I joined more than a dozen other Florida sheriffs to partner on the basic ordering agreement,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “This individual came into our community illegally once, was sent back to his country and then returned; only this time to take advantage of a 16-year-old child who isn’t old enough to give consent. He manipulated a child and robbed her of any childhood she may have had. The actions of this individual are appalling and prove yet again, why we made the right decision by entering into this agreement in the first place.”