7/20/15, "Deportation's revolving door: Suspects in Lawrence shooting shouldn't have been in U.S.," Boston Herald, Hilary Chabot
"Deportation orders failed to oust two illegal immigrants who are now
up on drug charges and under investigation in the July 4 shooting death
of a Lawrence grandmother — in an alarming case that critics say
illustrates a revolving immigration door with dangerous consequences.
Republic nationals Wilton Lara-Calmona and Jose M. Lara-Mejia were
arrested on drug charges by police investigating the shooting death of
Mirta Rivera, 41. The Lawrence nurse was killed in her sleep by a
gunshot fired through the ceiling from an upstairs apartment, where both
But Immigration and Customs Enforcement records
reviewed by the Herald show the men shouldn’t have been in the country
in the first place.
Lara-Calmona, 38, was deported in April 2012 and arrested for re-entering the country last November, the records show.
35, was nabbed crossing the border in August 2013 and ordered deported
in April 2014, but had remained in the country illegally.
spokesman Shawn Neudauer confirmed that Lara-Mejia “was ordered removed
by a federal immigration judge on April 9, 2014, after failing to appear
before the immigration court. He was considered an ICE fugitive until
his July 4, 2015, arrest by local authorities in Lawrence,
Rivera’s shocking shooting death — killed as she
lay in her bed — comes as the country’s immigration policies are under
renewed scrutiny. Only days before the Lawrence shooting, an illegal
immigrant previously deported five times allegedly shot and killed a
young woman walking on a busy San Francisco pier with her father.
we’re hanging a huge ‘welcome back,’ sign for them,” said Jessica
Vaughan, director of policy studies with the Center for Immigration
Studies. “Illegal immigrants who have already been deported see a reason
to come back because they are not afraid of immigration enforcement
once they get here.”
Vaughan said crime involving illegals could
be preventable, but the Obama administration [and GOP] has encouraged officials to
look the other way when it comes to enforcing immigration laws — like
the law that carries a two-year prison sentence for illegal re-entry, 10
years when it involves a felony crime.
“There is a law on the
books intended to make people think twice after they get deported, but
the problem is the U.S. attorneys often will not prosecute until someone
has been deported multiple times,” Vaughan said.
Lara-Calmona and Christopher Paganmoux, 22, who all live on the second
floor above Rivera on Exchange Street, were charged with trafficking
heroin and cocaine after police said they found drugs as well as a
“clear and obvious” rifle bullet hole in Lara-Mejia’s second-floor
bedroom, according to police records.
Police arrived at 4:26 a.m.
at the home of Rivera to find her “lying supine on the bed, pulseless,
not breathing, eyes fixed front, staring straight at the ceiling,” wrote
Lawrence police officer Frank Bradley.
Bradley quickly found a
hole in the ceiling above her with “plaster hanging down.” Bradley then
burst into the apartment upstairs, where, “the smell of fresh burnt
gunpowder was strong and evident,” and rounded up the three suspects
from their bedrooms.
Officers also searched the apartment and
outside the building, found a Sears and Roebuck .270 bolt action rifle
that matched the bullet found in Rivera’s mattress, according to the
All three men have been held on high bail since
their arraignment, but their lawyers deny that they have any connection
to their neighbor’s death. A spokeswoman with the Essex District
Attorney’s Office said Friday that the incident is still under
But according to Vaughan, lax immigration
enforcement is the reason two of those three were in the apartment full
of drugs and gunsmoke that day.
“The Obama administration [and GOP] is being way too generous and allowing people who are public safety threats to remain here,” she said."