Remember Montgomery County, Maryland? The county with a slew of illegal alien sex offenders arrested over the summer? Well, the D.C. suburb is also home to large numbers of transnational gang members, increasingly committing murder. Their ranks have been enlarged by the interminable flow of Central American teens across the border in recent years. Sadly, the parents and family members who “sponsor” these “children” now get amnesty under the budget bill Trump agreed to sign this year.
In what has become an all-too-familiar scene in the D.C. suburban area, Montgomery County police found the body of Sara Gutierrez-Villatoro, 19, shot dead in a wooded area in Dickerson, Maryland, on November 29 in what appeared to be a gang killing. Dickerson was once a quiet town in the more rural part of Montgomery County near the Potomac River but has now been exposed to the epidemic of illegal alien gangs. It wasn’t until the week before Christmas that local police announced the arrests of Jonathan Rivera-Escobar, 19; Geovany Dominguez, 24; Jordan Moreno, 21; and Rigoberto Machado, 16 – all part of an 18th Street gang clique in D.C. – for the November murder. The victim is believed to have been a member of the gang as well, who betrayed the other members.
What nobody has reported, however, is that at least two of them are confirmed illegal aliens who were resettled at taxpayer expense as “unaccompanied alien minors” in recent years. Worse, both of them were just recently released from D.C. local jail in defiance of ICE detainers.
“ICE has lodged detainers with Montgomery County Detention Center for two men charged with murder in the first degree,” said ICE’s Baltimore office in a statement to CR. “Geovany Alexander Godoy-Dominguez, 23, and Jonathan Rivera-Escobar, 19, were arrested in connection to a murder in Maryland in November. Godoy had previously been the subject of an ICE detainer after an Oct. 31 arrest by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, but was released.”
ICE did not issue a statement on Moreno. As for Machado, because he is a minor, ICE will not comment on his immigration status.
In the statement, an ICE official noted how the local sanctuary policies in D.C. and its surrounding counties have allowed more needless crimes to be committed. “Sanctuary policies are reckless and dangerous for our communities,” said acting Deputy Executive Associate Director Henry Lucero. “How many catastrophic incidents need to occur before supporters of sanctuary policies realize that communities are safer when law enforcement works together?”
So, what is the story with Godoy-Dominguez? According to ICE, he is “an illegal alien from El Salvador” and is “an immigration fugitive.”
“Godoy was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol in Jan. 2013 after illegally entering the United States. He was an unaccompanied child at the time, was transferred to Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and subsequently released to his sponsor. On Mar. 11, 2015, an immigration judge ordered him removed from the United States when he failed to appear for his immigration hearing. On Oct. 31, 2019, following his arrest for possession of an unregistered firearm, ICE issued an immigration detainer and warrant of removal for Godoy with the D.C. Department of Corrections. On Nov. 3, 2019, the detainer and warrant were not honored and he was released instead of being turned over to ICE. ICE lodged a detainer Dec. 26 with Montgomery County Detention Center for Godoy following his arrest for murder.”
The same jurisdictions that are pushing gun control have no problem harboring other countries’ gun felons, when they could easily be removed by ICE. How Montgomery County officials could release an illegal alien gang member like Godoy-Dominguez after arresting him on a firearms charge is inexplicable.
Jonathan Rivera-Escobar is also an illegal alien from El Salvador. According to ICE, he was also settled as a UAC in June 2016 and had a prior arrest but was not turned over to ICE. “As he was an unaccompanied minor, he was turned over to the HHS ORR and was subsequently released to his sponsor. On Sept. 6, Rivera was arrested and charged with unlawful entry of a motor vehicle and released prior to ICE placing a detainer. On Dec. 18, ICE lodged a detainer with Maryland County following his arrest for murder.”
Last year, ICE placed detainers on aliens charged with a total of 2,500 murders. Given that most murderers are repeat offenders, one can only imagine how many of these murders were 100 percent preventable, because their first criminal arrests should have triggered their removals. Had Rivera-Escobar and Godoy-Dominguez been handed over to ICE, the murder likely would never have happened.
But it’s worse than that. Consider the fact that under the bill just signed by President Trump, first in February and then permanently codified in the December omnibus, those illegal relatives who are sponsoring people like Rivera-Escobar and Godoy-Dominguez will be shielded from deportation as a reward for trafficking in future gang members. In the ultimate case of paying for the rope to hang ourselves, these future gang members are resettled by the Office of Refugee Resettlement as refugees on the taxpayer dime.
The D.C. suburbs have become a hotbed for Salvadoran illegal alien gangs since the influx of Central Americans, propelled by unaccompanied teen trafficking, began early in the decade. “What we found in recent years is a resurgence of MS-13 in Maryland, in the D.C. area, and it was fueled by illegal immigration and particularly by the challenge of unaccompanied minor children,” said Rod Rosenstein in the presence of the president in Long Island last year.
“Many of these alien children, who have no parents, no family structure — we’re releasing them into communities where they’re vulnerable to recruitment by MS-13,” said Rosenstein. ICE has estimated that about 40 percent of the MS-13 members arrested in recent years originally arrived as UACs.
MS-13 and the rival 18th Street gang are endemic to El Salvador, and now roughly 22 percent of El Salvador’s population is in the United States, many of them settling in the counties surrounding D.C. – both in Maryland and in Virginia. So the policies encouraging the trafficking of volatile Salvadoran youth into the country to fuel the growth of the most violent gangs are coming home to roost right where the nation’s lawmakers reside.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.