The North Star State is known for its “Minnesota nice” culture and the small city of Stillwater is known to be quiet and peaceful. The last thing town residents expected was to find a body of a badly injured woman at the hands of an illegal alien gang member lying on one of their streets, but that is exactly what happened on Sunday, June 9, according to the 39-year-old victim. It’s part of a broader problem plaguing the state thanks to the largest metropolitan area being a sanctuary for repeat criminal alien offenders who are incentivized to return after being deported.
Last week, thanks to the recovery of the victim and court documents, local Twin Cities media has gotten the background on the woman found lying in the street in a pool of blood by an Uber driver on June 9. According to the criminal complaint, 32-year-old Angel Sardina-Padilla and 23-year-old Luis Alfredo Cortez-Mendoza, both allegedly members of the Surenos 13 street gang, held the female victim captive in her St. Paul apartment on June 8 and threatened her and her roommates with a metal tool heated up over the stove.
The pair of gang members then drove her around until the next morning when Sardina-Padilla, the alleged ringleader, ordered Mendoza to shoot her. He fired three shots, one striking her in the chest, knocking her down in the street until she was found by the Uber driver at 2:38 a.m. on June 9.
Mendoza reportedly told police that he feared he’d be killed for not following orders when he was arrested on June 10. Sardina-Padilla was arrested June 18. Bail for both of them was set at $2 million in separate court appearances. Mendoza was charged with attempted first-degree murder for the benefit of a gang, attempted second-degree murder for the benefit of a gang and kidnapping for the benefit of a gang. Sardina-Padilla was charged with aiding and abetting on all three counts.
The first question that popped in my mind when seeing the reference to the Surenos 13 gang when following this story last week was that it’s likely these suspects are here illegally. I was the first person to send an inquiry to Immigration and Customs Enforcement about the immigration status of Mendoza last Tuesday, and indeed I was told he is an illegal alien and that there is a detainer lodged against him, a fact that was not mentioned in a single local media report for the first few days of the story. There is no detainer for Sardina-Padilla, which presumably means he is a natural-born or naturalized citizen.
“On June 10, 2019, deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed an immigration detainer with Washington County (Minnesota) Jail on Luis Alfredo Cortez-Mendoza, 23, an illegal alien from Mexico, following his criminal arrest on charges of attempted murder,” said Nicole Alberico, spokesman for ICE in a statement to CR last week. “Cortez-Mendoza was removed to Mexico four times in April 2015.”
It wasn’t until late on June 18 that the Star Tribune reported that Mendoza was an illegal alien previously deported several times to Mexico. No other reporter followed up on the immigration status.
This is yet another example of a high profile violent crime committed by an illegal alien that went unreported in the local media. We’ve uncovered several high-profile DUI manslaughters in California where we were the first to inquire about immigration status and report the issuance of an ICE detainer, even though every local media report ignored the immigration aspect of the story.
This tragedy demonstrates how even small towns in the upper Midwest are not immune to transnational gang violence. While the victim in this case was found in Washington County, the alleged assailant lived in St. Paul, a known sanctuary city. So many illegal alien crimes and ICE operations to ensure they are not released after posting bond go unreported in the media. I only found out about this story from a local listener to my podcast.
Stories of violent transnational gang members committing murder or mayhem occur every day, but few trace the origins back to the border. Every day we see agents tied down dealing with mass numbers of illegal immigrants, it is a certainty that dangerous criminal gang members are getting through the border undetected. Mendoza’s ability to come right back four times in the same year is a testament to the border problem that will be ignored through much of the media coverage of this case.
The Twin Cities area is beginning to see many of the problems that plague the East Coast. Minneapolis has long been a sanctuary city. In 2003, the city prohibited its officers from inquiring about immigration status. In recent months, suburbs such as St. Cloud and St. Joseph declared themselves “welcoming cities.” Minneapolis has an entire “Sanctuary City Task Force” to help push back against federal immigration authorities.
More broadly, Hennepin County, the jurisdiction that encompasses the Twin Cities and holds one-fifth of Minnesota’s population, was listed by ICE’s Declined Detainer Outcome Report as a county that declines to honor ICE detainers. Hennepin County was listed for refusing to honor a detainer of a convicted Mexican meth dealer and weapons violator. It’s no surprise why the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote a story “Mexican drug cartels turned Minneapolis into a meth hub.”
All of the deaths from gang activity, drunk driving, and drug trafficking emanating from sanctuary cities are all completely avoidable. They are either the result of an unsecured border allowing them to come in or reenter, or from sanctuary cities who release them even after being apprehended for a subsequent crime, or both. In April, Mark J. O’Gara, a 52-year-old father of 10 children, was killed in St. Paul while pulling out of his driveway. He was hit by a 19-year-old illegal alien from Honduras who was a recent beneficiary of catch-and-release who didn’t show up to his court case.
One thing is clear: as Democrats hold up pictures on the Senate floor of illegal aliens who die of natural causes and blame it on Border Patrol and ICE, they will never show the pictures of victims of illegal aliens. Nor do they show the pictures of all those Americans saved from an unknown number of crimes criminal aliens would have committed had they not been deported. Both of them would likely fill the Senate gallery from floor to ceiling.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated. Minnesota is the North Star State. The description was previously incorrect.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.