Investigation: Border Patrol ordered release of man accused in crime spree

Investigation: Border Patrol ordered release of man accused in crime spree
Suspect Juan Emanuel Razo appears in court. (Source: Lake County Sheriff's Office)

LAKE COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - The suspect who has admitted to the attempted rape of a child, the shooting of a woman, and the murder of another woman also has admitted he is in the country illegally. So how did the federal agency in charge of deporting people who are here illegally allow him to stay?

On Tuesday, Juan Razo appeared in court after his Monday arrest for an alleged crime spree, but it is unknown if that is his real name.

"He's given a full confession, is that correct?" asked Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti.

"Yes, sir," answered detectives.

Still, Judge Cicconetti was frustrated by the lack of confirmation of Razo's identity. He has no birth certificate, no driver's license, no passport and no green card, yet he was able to stay in this country for five years. In fact, Razo was allowed to stay even after being confronted by police earlier this month and reported to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Razo was questioned by deputies three weeks ago on Casement Road in Painesville Township after reports he was acting suspiciously. After speaking with him, deputies became suspicious. They called a supervisor who came and dialed a number Border Patrol provides to law enforcement. Then a long conversation ensued, according to Lake County Sheriff Dan Dunlap.

"They had conversation, even with an interpreter on the phone with him at that time. But no detainer was forthcoming. They would not issue a detainer," said Dunlap.

Since Razo had committed no crime, he could not be held by the sheriff's office.

Reporter Paul Orlousky called the Border Patrol to ask if there is an active investigation and why Razo was not detained, given the fact he had no documentation. So far, calls to their media relations department are unanswered.

The Department of Homeland Security did release a statement:

DHS is closely monitoring this case and coordinating with local authorities.  Following the completion of his criminal proceedings and any sentence imposed by the court, ICE intends to take  custody of Mr. Razo-Ramirez and pursue his removal from the United States.

The Administration has set enforcement priorities to make sure our resources are focused on apprehending and removing convicted criminals, gang members, recent border crossers, and the most significant threats to public safety and national security.  Through the Priority Enforcement Program, we are working with state and local law enforcement every day to ensure that these individuals are taken into federal custody to be removed from the country. These efforts to keep our communities safe and our nation secure are essential to our mission.

Border Patrol agents interviewed this individual via telephone at the request of the Lake County Sheriff's Office on July 7,  2015. During that interview, Razo was uncooperative and the agents were unable to determine his immigration status. Without such a determination, the agents had no legal basis to file a detainer to hold the subject.  Although the agents offered to meet with the deputies on site and interview the subject in person, the offer was declined and the subject was released.

There is speculation that Razo's rampage could come up at the Republican debate next week in Cleveland, especially since immigration is a hot button issue for Donald Trump. A call to his campaign was also unanswered.

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