Skip to main content

See also:

North Carolina: Asheville's 'sanctuary policy' nearly cost officer her life

Celso Avila-Aguilar
Celso Avila-AguilarBuncombe County Sheriff's Office

Last weekend, police in Asheville, North Carolina, arrested Celso Avila-Aguilar, 31, after he reportedly grabbed an officer's arm during a routine traffic stop, and dragged her some 130 feet down Interstate 240. Fortunately, the officer was not seriously injured.

Around midnight on July 5, Officer Ann Fowler pulled over a Toyota Camry near the Charlotte Street exit after she observed the vehicle's operator, driving erratically. The driver, Avila-Aguilar, refused to cooperate and would not exit the vehicle, according to police.

As Officer Fowler reached inside to remove Avila-Aguilar, the suspect grabbed her arm, held onto it and sped away, dragging Fowler alongside.

She fought with Avila-Aguilar, eventually freeing herself from his grasp. "Once free, she fell onto the middle of the interstate and somehow managed to avoid other vehicles hitting her," Ashville Police Capt. Tim Splain said.

A short time later, Avila-Aguilar crashed into a police car on the Bowen Bridge, bringing his flight from justice to an abrupt end.

Officer Fowler was transported to Mission Hospital with non life-threatening injuries. She was treated and released with only cuts and bruises.

Avila-Aguilar has been charged with DUI, assault w/deadly weapon on a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, driving without a license, kidnapping, injury to personal property, eluding arrest reckless driving. He is currently being held at the Buncombe County Detention Center on $100,000 bond.

View this suspect's arrest report...

View this suspect's booking info...

Avila-Aguilar's next court appearance is scheduled for July 28.

It should be noted that the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office does not list U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holds on their website, though there are several criminal aliens currently incarcerated in the county's main facility on Davidson Drive, in Asheville.

Furthermore, the city of Asheville also has a 'sanctuary policy' in place, shielding illegal aliens from possible deportation, even after they have committed a crime within the city limits.

On Oct. 22, 2013, the Asheville City Council passed a so-called Civil Liberties Resolution, banning police officers from inquiring into a suspect's immigration status in this country.

The relevant sections read:

Section 1. The City of Asheville upholds the constitutional rights and civil liberties of any and all persons and it remains the policy of the City of Asheville to protect against discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, immigration status, religious or political opinion or activity, or homed or homeless status.

Section 3. In accordance with Asheville Police Department policy, if officers stop a driver of a motor vehicle who cannot produce a valid operator’s license and a computer check shows the driver has no license issuance information, a citation is sufficient enforcement action.

Section 5. In the absence of state, interstate or international criminal or national security investigations, the City of Asheville does not actively participate in the enforcement of immigration law.

As far as Asheville is concerned...No citizenship, no license...no problem!