ICE releases illegal alien linked to police sergeant’s death after charges dropped

A smiling illegal alien was spotted stepping out from ICE custody after charges related to the death of a local sergeant had been dropped.

In May 2023, a 25-year veteran of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Michael Kunovich suffered a heart attack in the process of detaining a suspect resisting arrest. Friday, that Guatemalan foreign national, 19-year-old Virgilio Aguilar Mendez, was released with fanfare from his attorney who thanked a Kardashian, Coldplay and God.

“After being racially profiled, beaten, tased, put into a chokehold by St John County Sheriff deputies in St. Augustine, FL, unjustly charged for alleged manslaughter of a police officer after one of the deputies had a heart attack and locked in jail for more than 10 months; Virgilio was FINALLY FREED TODAY!” read a post from the social media account of the Arroyo Law Firm that included a report from WJXT.

Led by attorney Phillip Arroyo, the firm contended, “against all odds, JUSTICE prevailed,” and proclaimed, “ALL glory to GOD,” for the release before thanking a team of attorneys and “Finally, our deep appreciation to @KimKardashian and @coldplay for exposing the injustice Virgilio faced nationally and internationally through their social media, thereby helping make the government and its elected officials feel the HEAT.”

On TikTok, Arroyo shared video of his client’s release with a caption in Spanish translated as “Virgilio Aguilar finally FREE! God is great.”

@chillcallphilVirgilio Aguilar finalmente ¡LIBRE! Dios es grande. ✊⚖️♬ original sound – Attorney Phillip Arroyo

Reports of the arrest that resulted in the nearly year-long detention detailed that Kunovich, 52, had sought to apprehend the alien under suspicion of a crime and the then-suspect was said to have resisted. Aguilar Mendez was quoted as saying in English, “I’m sorry, no speak, no speak English,” but even after Spanish-speaking deputies arrived as backup, the resistance continued including possession of a pocketknife.

During the scuffle, Kunovich was said to have experienced “medical distress” and attempts at lifesaving measures were insufficient to revive him. As a result, Aguilar Mendez had been charged with aggravated manslaughter for which the court ultimately cleared him, deeming him “incompetent to proceed.”

“Recent expert testimony regarding the defendant’s inability to comprehend the English language, his cultural background and concerns about his intellectual capacity have raised significant issues to consider in the case,” the 7th District State Attorney’s Office had said in a statement. “Furthermore, based on the court’s recent ruling that the defendant is incompetent to proceed based on that expert testimony, dismissal of the charges is appropriate. Arrest and time served is sufficient.”

Mariana Blanco, assistant executive director of the Guatemalan-Maya Center which had advocated for the illegal alien whose community primarily speaks Mam, told ABC News, “Our work has just begun in terms of the healing work that will need to be done with Aguilar Mendez so we’re just excited to have him back and bring him into a community where he’s going to feel welcomed, and appreciated and safe. This case just proves that local authorities in Florida are not prepared to work with our workforce.”

Public reaction included considerable uproar that yet another foreign national whose actions had been associated with an American citizen’s death had been released back into the country instead of being deported.

Kevin Haggerty


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