Closing detainer loophole
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.