Documents show Washington delayed arrest of Senate intern

Jan 15 2013 - 3:01pm

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FILE - This Sept. 27, 2012 file photo shows Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. speaking in Sayreville, N.J. Federal immigration agents were prepared to arrest an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender days before the November elections but were ordered by Washington to hold off after officials warned of "significant interest" from Congress and news organizations because the suspect was a volunteer intern for Menendez, according to internal agency documents provided to Congress. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
FILE - This Sept. 27, 2012 file photo shows Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. speaking in Sayreville, N.J. Federal immigration agents were prepared to arrest an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender days before the November elections but were ordered by Washington to hold off after officials warned of "significant interest" from Congress and news organizations because the suspect was a volunteer intern for Menendez, according to internal agency documents provided to Congress. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

WASHINGTON -- Internal government documents show that federal immigration agents were prepared to arrest an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender days before the November elections but were ordered by Washington to hold off. Officials warned of "significant interest" from Congress and news organizations because the suspect was a volunteer intern for Sen. Robert Menendez.

Last month the Homeland Security Department said an Associated Press report about delays in the arrest of Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta was "categorically false."

Sanchez, 18, was arrested at his home in New Jersey on Dec. 6 and has since been released and is facing deportation.

After the AP story, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and six other Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Obama administration for details about the incident.

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