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Illegal immigrant allegedly decapitated victim, played ‘soccer with his head’

Police car lights. (Alexandru Cuznetov/Dreamstime/TNS)
July 06, 2021

An illegal immigrant who was previously released from a New Mexico jail on bail allegedly beheaded a man and subsequently played “soccer with his head” in Apodaca Park in Las Cruces on June 21.

According to court documents reviewed by KTSM on June 23, Joel Arciniega-Saenz, 25, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of 51-year-old James Garcia. Arciniega-Saenz reportedly cut off Garcia’s head and kicked it at 14 different cars. A Las Cruces Police Department officer later located the victim’s head nearly 10 yards from his body, which had multiple stab wounds in his upper body and the middle finger on his right hand has been removed.

Arciniega-Saenz was found after the killing with bloodstains on his hands and boots, and a bloody knife was located nearby. He surrendered to police without resisting and allegedly confessed to the crime, saying the murder was an act of revenge on Garcia, who he claimed raped his wife four years ago.  

An affidavit reportedly said the attacker admitted to confronting Garcia, stabbing him with a switchblade, decapitating him, and then playing “soccer with his head.”

Arciniega-Saenz has been encountered by law enforcement in the past, CBS 4 News reported. In 2017, he was charged with first-degree murder, but the charges were later dropped. Earlier this year, he was arrested for throwing rocks at businesses.

Breitbart News reported exclusively that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “seemingly confirmed” the attacker’s illegal immigrant status. ICE reportedly has a request to local authorities that he not be released from jail until the agency is able to assume custody.

“Under federal law, ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement partners who have custody of individuals arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable noncitizens,” an ICE official told Breitbart News exclusively.

“The detainer form asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the noncitizen for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody,” the official said.

According to Las Cruces Sun News, Arciniega-Saenz was indicted and scheduled for a pre-trial detention hearing last Tuesday, but his defense attorney requested a continuance. His new hearing is scheduled for July 6, and Arciniega-Saenz is being held at the Dona Ana County Detention Center without bail.