PHOENIX — A federal immigration official tells 12News the suspect who allegedly broke into the campaign headquarters of Democrat gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs last week does not have legal status to be in the United States.
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 36-year-old Daniel Mota Dos Reis is a citizen of Portugal who arrived in the United States as a registered student in 2018 and is now violating "the terms of his admission.”
Mota is “currently at-large for administrative immigration violations for failing to maintain his status as a registered student at an academic institution,” said Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, a public affairs officer for ICE.
Mota was released on bond before an immigration detainer was issued, according to ICE.
Timeline of events
Mota was arrested last week for criminal trespassing and burglary, among other charges.
According to Phoenix Police, Mota is homeless. He’s accused of trespassing at an uptown Phoenix office complex near McDowell and Central Ave on three separate occasions between Oct. 22 and Oct. 25.
According to witnesses, Mota was seen breaking into at least two different office suites. One of the suites was the campaign headquarters of Democrat Katie Hobbs, police said.
Court records show that during a confrontation with police on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 26, Mota ran from officers. He pushed to the ground a 60-year-old female security guard before he was arrested, police say. Police did not know at the time Mota’s alleged link to the campaign burglary.
On the evening of Oct. 26, a patrol officer viewed a news story about the campaign burglary. It displayed the surveillance video image of Mota. The officer recognized Mota from the morning’s arrest and contacted his supervisors. While still in custody, Phoenix Police re-arrested Mota for the campaign headquarters burglary on the night of Oct. 24.
When apprehended, Mota had a backpack with burglary tools and a new camera, police said. Mota has prior convictions of assaulting an officer and shoplifting.
Burglary became subject of political drama
The burglary became the subject of political drama last week after the Hobbs campaign released a statement Wednesday suggesting, without evidence, that controversial rhetoric by Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake was linked to the burglary. The suspect had not yet been identified.
Wednesday night, Lake criticized the news media for covering the story of the burglary and compared the crime, and the media attention surrounding it, to the Jussie Smollett case, in which the celebrity falsely claimed in 2019 he was the target of a hate crime in Chicago. Smollett’s ruse was uncovered and he was eventually convicted on six counts for filing false police reports.
Phoenix Police announced Mota’s arrest last Thursday morning. There is no evidence to suggest Mota specifically targeted the Hobbs campaign, nor evidence to suggest that the burglary was staged.
Mota is wanted by immigration officials
What remains unclear is why Mota was not held on an immigration detainer, but was released to the public.
According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, a division of ICE called ERO (Enforcement and Removal Operations) interviews every inmate who is booked into jail.
O’Keefe of ICE tells 12News that Mota “came to ERO’s attention after his arrest by the Phoenix Police Department” on Oct. 27. ERO was advised that Mota “had bonded out of Maricopa County Sheriff’s custody prior to a detainer being issued.”
12News has asked O’Keefe whether or not ICE officials had a chance to interview Mota before he was released, but has not yet received a response. Stay with 12News for updates.
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