Criminal Justice

After 2 Months, Man Mistakenly Arrested Is Freed

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After being flown in from Texas and held in a Florida jail for two months, protesting all the while that he was not the man authorities thought he was, the wrong Jose Garcia has finally been freed.

Although he shares the name—and birthday—of the Jose Garcia that Miami-Dade authorities were seeking in a kidnapping and robbery case, the 52-year-old Garcia couldn’t possibly be the right suspect. That’s because he was in a Texas prison when the Florida crime was committed, reports the Miami Herald. He was serving a three-year sentence for helping illegal immigrants cross the border.

Florida officials authorized his release Friday after Texas officials sent a letter at the request of his attorney confirming this fact. But then he still wasn’t immediately freed—U.S. immigration authorities asked that he be held for deportation proceedings. They quickly reversed course, however, after being alerted by the Miami Herald that Garcia is a U.S. citizen, the newspaper article continues.

Being flown from Texas to Florida initially, ”I was so confused and sad on the plane, tied from head to toe, and everyone was looking at me,” Garcia said yesterday, moments after he was released. He reportedly was arrested on the Florida warrant in Texas, after a police officer stopped him and a friend and asked for their IDs as they were returning from a fishing trip.

Although his situation has improved considerably, his problems still aren’t over, the newspaper notes. Garcia still has to arrange on his own to fly back to Texas, which the 85-year-old grandmother with whom he lives there is sending him the money to do, and find a new job to replace the one he lost after he was arrested.

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