BERLIN – Apparently unhappy with the state’s new stringent sex offender laws, a Worcester County registered sex offender recently flew the coop to Ecuador, but county law enforcement officials, with the help of U.S. Marshall’s, were able to track the offender back to his native country.
According to Worcester County Sheriff’s Department Detective Lou Esposito, who oversees the county’s sex offender registry program, registered offender Adrian Ricardo Reinoso, 37, whose last known local address was in West Ocean City, recently sent county officials a letter stating he was displeased with the state’s new sex offender laws and the stringent reporting requirements attached to them and was leaving the area.
With the help of the U.S. Marshals Service, Esposito was able to track Reinoso back to his native Ecuador and a warrant has been sworn out for arrest should he return to the U.S.
“He was kind enough to send us a letter saying he was out of here and he wasn’t coming back,” said Esposito this week. “He said he didn’t like the tougher new state laws for convicted sex offenders in Maryland, which is why he packed up and left.”
Esposito said he is required to make every attempt to track the whereabouts of registered sex offenders when they leave the area and enlisted the help of the U.S. Marshal’s Service to track down Reinoso and federal agents were able to track Reinoso to Ecuador through his passport. Esposito quipped he didn’t think it was in the budget for him to travel to Ecuador to bring Reinoso back. Instead, a warrant has been sworn for his arrest and will be waiting for the offender indefinitely should he ever decide to return to the U.S.
“We have a warrant for him and if he attempts to come back into this country, he’ll likely get picked up,” he said. “That warrant will stay there forever and his passport has been flagged. His name is in the system.”
Esposito said in some respects it’s likely a good thing Reinoso is out of the area, although he never caused any problems while in the local area and always reported in when required. He said he was uncertain what reciprocal arrangements Ecuador had with the U.S. in terms of sex offender registries, but said Reinoso might find himself in a world of trouble in his native country.
Esposito said the county sheriff’s office often solicits the help of federal officers in tracking absconders and other fugitives. In another current case, U.S. Marshals were able to track Worcester County registered sex offender James Wright to Kentucky. However, Wright will not be returned to Worcester because he is being charged federally.
“I often use the U.S. Marshals in these types of cases because we can pool our resources,” said Esposito. “It’s a reciprocal relationship. Sometimes they solicit our help in tracking a fugitive in our area, but usually it cuts the other way.”
Esposito said Reinoso was not considered a violent sex offender and that he ended up on the sex offender registry because of a fourth-degree sex offense conviction in Montgomery County. He also has a fairly extensive criminal record including an assault arrest in Worcester County in 2008.
“When he was here, we never really had any problems with him,” he said. “He always seemed to have a job and he reported in when he was supposed to. He just didn’t like the new laws in Maryland, apparently. With the changes, he went from reporting in twice a year to four times a year.”
Esposito said many sex offenders registered in Worcester County and all over the state have seen their requirements and restrictions tightened in the wake of the substantial changes approved by the General Assembly in the last session, many of which just went into effect on Oct. 1. For some of those with more minor offenses, the changes were dramatic.
“We have quite a few that were convicted on a third-degree offense that were required to be on the registry for 10 years, and some of them go way back,” said Esposito. “We have guys that have been on the registry for eight or nine years and they’re nearing the end of line, but now those offenses require a lifetime registration. In addition to that, they once were required to report in once a year and now they’re being required to report in as many as four times a year.”
While likely no one would dispute tightening Maryland’s sex offender laws, especially in light of the horrific incident – the abduction and death of Sarah Foxwell – that promulgated the changes, Esposito said the new laws are somewhat onerous on minor offenders.
While there are some obvious violent offenders in Worcester and all over the state that need to be closely monitored, some find themselves on the registry for lesser offenses.
“We’ve got quite a few that didn’t have anything violent associated with their cases,” he said. “We have some that were 18-year-old boys that were arrested for messing around with 16-year-old girls. They made a terrible mistake and they should be punished, but they might be otherwise decent guys. It’s completely understandable why the laws have changed and it’s a good thing, but it’s become more of a one-size-fits-all approach.”