Two men who served more than 20 years in prison for a murder they swear they did not commit were relieved when Illinois prosecutors dropped the charges against them this week.
But their ordeal did not end in freedom. Instead, the two men, Mexican citizens, were immediately arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, ICE confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
In 1998, Gabriel Solache, 43, and Arturo Reyes, 45, were charged in the stabbing of a young couple on Chicago’s northwest side and the kidnapping of their two young children. The two men claimed that over the course of a three-day interrogation Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara — who has been accused of framing more than 50 people for murder— beat them, deprived them of sleep, and gave them little food and drink until they falsely confessed to the crimes. But their complaints fell on deaf ears and they were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
A judge tossed those confessions last week, finding that Guevara had told “bald-faced lies” when prosecutors called him to the stand in October to testify about the case. Cook County Circuit Court Judge James Obbish said that the detective “has now eliminated the possibility of being considered a credible witness in any proceeding.”
Cook County prosecutors said they had “no choice” but to dismiss the case against Reyes and Solache after the judge discredited Guevara’s testimony.
Guevara, who is now retired, was the subject of a BuzzFeed News investigation last spring that detailed framing allegations against him. Following the story, Cook County prosecutors dismissed charges against Roberto Almodovar, who served 23 years for a murder he did not commit.
Guevara has consistently declined to comment, and in court he has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at least three times in the last several years when asked about whether he framed people.
Attorneys for Solache and Reyes had hoped that they too would walk out of prison free men on Thursday, but instead, the fate of the two men now lies in the hands of a federal immigration court judge.
In a statement, an ICE spokesperson said both men were “amenable to removal.” The statement added that the men will “remain in ICE custody pending disposition of their immigration cases.”