Deportation proceedings, indictments, and jail time have all followed a range of arrests in East Hampton Town and Sag Harbor Village recently.
Facing deportation is Jefferson Pulla Duchitanga, 21, of Sag Harbor. He was charged by that village’s police department with felony drunken driving, after an alleged vehicular hit-and-run incident October. 5. Police said Pulla Duchitanga struck a parked vehicle while driving his company’s work truck.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents sent a detainer request to both Sag Harbor and Suffolk County. ICE said that Pulla Duchitanga had previously been caught illegally crossing the border over the Rio Grande in 2013 in Texas, when he was 16 years old.
Bail was set in Sag Harbor at $7500. He was turned over to the Suffolk County sheriff’s office when he failed to make bail.
On October 15, he was indicted by a grand jury in Riverside on four felony charges, including aggravated unlicensed and drunken driving. Four days later, State Supreme Court Justice Steven Braslow set a new bail amount of $20,000. Even if Pulla Duchitanga made that bail, he would not be released. The county sheriff’s office honors all ICE detainer requests, and even rents beds to ICE, which allows it to hold a prisoner up to 48 hours after his scheduled time of release, allowing ICE the opportunity to pick him up.
Another Sag Harbor man indicted on felony drunken driving charges is not facing deportation, but remains behind bars. Fabrice Twagirumukiza, 34, was arrested August 6 by East Hampton Town police and charged with six felonies, including aggravated DWI with two prior convictions for drunken driving. The aggravated charge is made when a defendant has a blood alcohol reading from a breath test significantly higher than the .08 mark that defines intoxication. Twagirumukiza initially posted $7500 bail.
He, too, was indicted by a grand jury. On September 14, he was brought before Justice Braslow to be arraigned on the indictment charges. Justice Braslow upped the bail to $50,000. Twagirumukiza was put back in handcuffs, and taken to county jail, unable to raise that amount. His next court appearance is on November 9.
Aaron Petty was charged by East Hampton Town police with two felony charges of possession of cocaine and possession with intent to sell after a traffic stop October 13. Initially, he was unable to make the $10,000 bail with a $20,000 bond alternative set in East Hampton.
In such cases, the district attorney’s office has five days to present the alleged facts to a grand jury and obtain an indictment, or release the defendant.
Apparently, the DA’s office considered Petty’s case a serious one because it got the lab tests back in the allotted time, and presented the case to a grand jury. The lab test is important in drug cases, because the charges are based, in part, on the actual weight of the narcotic present, which is determined by testing the purity of the drug. The grand jury returned an indictment on three felony charges: two possession, and one possession with intent to sell.
In the meantime, however, a family member put up the collateral to post the $20,000 bond alternative to bail, and Petty was freed. Petty will be arraigned in county court November 7 in front of Justice Anthony Senft.