Clos­ing de­tainer loop­hole

Boston Herald - - INSIDE TRACK -

As one com­mu­nity af­ter an­other in Mas­sachusetts de­cides to join the oh-so-trendy ranks of sanc­tu­ary ci­ties, comes a re­al­ity check out of Tewks­bury.

That’s where last week more than two dozen law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing agents from the fed­eral Drug En­force­ment Agency, raided an apart­ment, ar­rested three peo­ple and seized 1,049 grams of co­caine and 644 grams of fen­tanyl with a com­bined street value of more than $100,000. And, we should add, enough to wreck dozens of lives.

That a 9-month-old child was, ac­cord­ing to po­lice, within reach of the drugs added to the hor­ror.

But now we find that one Wil­son Soto, 49, ar­rested in the raid and charged with drug traf­fick­ing, is ac­tu­ally a twice-de­ported il­le­gal alien with at least five aliases and as many dif­fer­ent birth dates, who was last “repa­tri­ated” to the Do­mini­can Repub­lic in 2011. His record for drug ar­rests goes back to at least 1991 when he used the name Juan Baez-Castillo and was caught in New Hamp­shire.

He was ar­rested last week with Cristina Richard­son, 48, and their son, Yo­janel Soto, 20, who had also been charged last Jan­uary with pos­ses­sion with in­tent to dis­trib­ute heroin.

Soto — or what­ever his real name is — used a fake ID to get a very real Mas­sachusetts driver’s li­cense. The only good news here is that he is be­ing held on $500,000 bail and U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment has lodged an im­mi­gra­tion de­tainer against him.

The case pro­vides a timely re­minder that a bill filed by Gov. Char­lie Baker that would per­mit lo­cal law en­force­ment to honor ICE de­ten­tion re­quests in cases where there is a threat to pub­lic safety is still lan­guish­ing on Bea­con Hill. The bill was made nec­es­sary by a re­cent Supreme Ju­di­cial Court de­ci­sion that cre­ated a gi­ant loop­hole through which crim­i­nal il­le­gal im­mi­grants could be sent on their merry way even if an ICE de­tainer has been is­sued.

This isn’t about sweep­ing ran­dom il­le­gal im­mi­grants off the streets; it’s about pro­tect­ing the pub­lic from crim­i­nals who have no busi­ness be­ing here in the first place.


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