- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2006

From the beginning, the infamous “Baltimore butchers” murder has been two separate stories. The first is the gruesome murder of three children nearly decapitated in 2004 by their own relatives for motives which to this day are unclear. It was tragic, irrational and horrifying. The second angle got less attention. Start with the fact that the perpetrators were illegal aliens whom police theorized, but prosecutors never proved, killed the youths as retaliation for the family’s failure to pay the “coyotes” who smuggled them into the country.

The first story ended this week with the conviction of Policarpio Espinoza Perez, 24, and Adan Canela, 19, on charges of first- and second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the May 27, 2004 murders of 8-year-old Lucero Solis Quezada, 10-year-old Alexis Espejo Quezada and 9-year-old Ricardo Solis Quezada, Jr. The convicted murderers Perez and Canela are the childrens’ uncle and cousin, respectively. They face life in prison. Beyond this, the murders themselves remain a mystery. Prosecutor Sharon R. Holback told The Washington Times this week that she believes the family knows more about the killings than its members have said. The motive remains unestablished.

The second story branches in several directions now, most immediately as a reminder of the burgeoning criminal-alien population in U.S. prisons. The Federal Bureau of Prisons estimates that criminal aliens comprised more than 27 percent of federal prison inmates. The states are burdened, too. More than 300,000 criminal aliens are expected to be jailed in state prisons in 2007, immigration officials have said, to the point that some states have sent “invoices” to federal authorities seeking compensation. Perez and Canela now join the burgeoning criminal-alien population. This is the dark underbelly of the surge in the illegal-alien population in recent years.

It’s also worth remembering that in an indirect sense Maryland’s politicians brought the criminal-alien problem on themselves and the rest of us. Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley was among the first to condemn the crime and vow that justice would prevail. He also happens to be one of Maryland’s more reckless advocates of illegal immigration. He may not see the connection, but the criminal-alien numbers speak for themselves.

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