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Man arrested and placed on ICE detainer

NASHUA – The possibility that Sarbelio Lorenzo-Zacarias may be staying in the U.S. illegally, along with the “concerning” nature of the allegations lodged against him Wednesday by Merrimack police, prompted a Superior Court judge to set the Massachusetts man’s bail at $10,000 cash.

Lorenzo-Zacarias, 33, of West Springfield, faces one count each of criminal threatening, a Class B felony, and animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor. The charges are a result of his arrest in Merrimack late Wednesday night by police who had responded to a local residence after receiving a call reporting an intoxicated man had threatened someone with a knife, police said.

While the suspect, later identified as Lorenzo-Zacarias, had fled the residence by the time officers arrived, they spoke with people who were there at the time and learned that he had allegedly brandished a knife and threatened to stab one of the people.

Police were also told by witnesses that Lorenzo-Zacarias allegedly grabbed up the homeowner’s dog, described as a Maltese mix named “Niko,” and held a knife to the dog while allegedly threatening to stab it.

It appears neither Niko nor any people present were injured.

Once they interviewed the witnesses, police fanned out to search for the suspect. It wasn’t long before they found him hiding on the property, police said.

Officers took Lorenzo-Zacarias into custody without incident, police said, and transported him to police headquarters for booking.

It was during the booking process that officers discovered Lorenzo-Zacarias may be in the U.S. illegally, which prompted them to contact an agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for verification.

The agent, shortly after arriving at police headquarters, “confirmed that (Lorenzo-Zacarias) is not here legally,” according to police.

The agent put an ICE detainer on Lorenzo-Zacarias, police said, adding that Lorenzo-Zacarias refused bail and was taken to Valley Street jail pending Thursday’s bail hearing.

Brought before Judge Charles Temple, Lorenzo-Zacarias participated in the hearing through a translator, who sat at the defense table with him and his attorney, Kara Simard.

The prosecutor, Assistant County Attorney Michael Miller, asked Temple that Lorenzo-Zacarias be held on preventive detention, citing the seriousness of the allegations.

“He threatened an (alleged) victim with a knife, then (allegedly) took the same knife and held it to an animal’s throat … saying he’d kill the dog,” Miller said.

Although Lorenzo-Zacarias has no known criminal history, Miller said the “dangerousness of his (alleged) activities” and his lack of local ties, which make him a flight risk, justify a preventive detention order.

Miller also told Temple that he’d spoken with the alleged victim, who asked that “at least a no-contact order” be issued against Lorenzo-Zacarias.

Miller said he was told Lorenzo-Zacarias has “anger and alcohol issues,” and that he’s not well-regarded among his co-workers.

But Simard countered that she doesn’t feel “the state met its burden” of proof that Lorenzo-Zacarias would present a danger to people if he were released.

As for being a flight risk, Simard said Lorenzo-Zacarias has lived in the U.S. with his wife for 13 years, and is in the process of applying for residency.

She further said he works full-time in the flooring business, and his job take him to sites in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“While these are serious charges,” Simard continued, “Mr. Lorenzo-Zacarias has no criminal history.”

But Temple opted for high cash bail, which came with an order to have no contact with the alleged victim.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com, or @Telegraph_DeanS.