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The Washington Times
July 27, 2020

Border crossers driving coronavirus spike in Texas, California and Arizona, lawmakers say
By Stephen Dinan

Homeland Security Investigations agents responded to the Red Roof Inn where Mr. Trejo-Padron said three other illegal immigrants were being held. When they arrived, they arrested Mr. Lugo and recovered the 9 mm gun that the migrants said he had been using to threaten them as he extorted them for more money. One of the other migrants told agents that when Mr. Lugo realized the cops were on to him, he tried to give them the gun. When they refused, he hid it under the hotel bed mattress, and he and the migrants tried to hide under the covers. Each migrant reported paying $4,000 for passage across the border and said Mr. Lugo was trying to demand thousands more to be paid directly to him. Both cases came to light because the Department of Homeland Security referred them for prosecution and the Justice Department made cases out of them. That is increasingly rare, according to data collected by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. In February, Customs and Border Protection referred more than 7,700 cases for prosecution. In May, referrals had dropped to 1,649. In June, referrals slipped to 1,295, TRAC says — a drop of 83%. By contrast, the FBI’s referrals were down just 6%.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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