Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce has responded to the federal warrants issued at Palomino’s and El Vaquero on Wednesday via Twitter, clarifying the details of the events that took place.
Joyce tweeted a 16-tweet thread around noon Thursday.
“I replied in a few cases to provide what clarifying information I could, but I wanted to provide a bit more information for those interested,” Joyce Tweeted. “According to the US Attorney's office, Federal agents from the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit of DHS along with US Marshals and a larger Federal task force, served search warrants at the location in Stillwater as part of a criminal investigation. The US Attorney has not released any further information about the underlying criminal allegations.
“Based on local reports, several individuals were detained and interviewed as part of the warrant investigations. Most of these people were released later in the day, with a small number remaining in Federal custody based on outstanding Federal warrants or prior deportation. SPD officers were present to observe the warrant service, as they would be for any Federal or state police action in our community. Some of the HSI interviews were conducted at municipal facilities, but SPD is not involved in the investigation, detention or arrests.”
Joyce continues, explaining Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not in Stillwater during the investigations Wednesday.
“While these operations were ongoing yesterday, I was concerned that multiple reports were being made that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was raiding businesses in town, including several false reports about businesses not involved at all,” Joyce Tweeted. “In discussing the issue with our local officials, I was informed that this was not the case, and that neither the investigation nor service of the warrants was being conducted by ICE. The distinction is important in that this was not an immigration enforcement action primarily seeking to detain undocumented people in Stillwater, but rather a specific investigation of criminal activity. I replied to a few Facebook and Twitter posts to convey this information and assuage fears of widespread raids.”
Joyce also clarified Stillwater Police Department police officers were present to observe the warrant service, as they would be for any Federal or state police action in Stillwater. Some of the HSI interviews were conducted at municipal facilities, but “SPD is not involved in the investigation, detention or arrests.”
Joyce concluded his thread by tweeting “everyone in our community deserves protection and respect.”
“I have been incredibly proud to see our neighbors and friends step up to offer support and comfort, and I know that our community will do whatever possible to help those who need it,” Joyce said. “More than anything, people love Stillwater’s warm and welcoming spirit. We want this to be a peaceful, comforting place for all or our residents and are committed to maintaining Stillwater's reputation as a friendly and safe place to live.”