The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that the suspect accused of raping a 15-year-old girl and a woman days apart at the Burnt Mills East Special Park in Silver Spring, Maryland was an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who has been in the country since 2013.
According to Fox 5, 20-year-old Jose Hernandez-Espinal was arrested on Tuesday after approaching two women with a machete, sexually assaulting one of the women, and running off with some of her belongings.
The two women were having lunch when he walked up and threatened both of them with a machete. He then walked one of the women to a secluded part of the trail, where he raped her and stole her jewelry before running off. He was charged with first-degree rape, kidnapping, and armed robbery.
In a separate instance, Hernandez-Espinal is also accused of raping a 15-year-old girl on the same trail a few days before Tuesday's incident. Authorities did not release details about the crime.
Recently there has been a surge of illegal immigrants coming across the southern border. According to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agents have encountered more than double the number of illegal immigrants between October 2022 and April 2023 than they did the previous year.
Title 42 orders expired earlier this month, causing many to worry that the surge will grow. The policy, enacted by the Trump administration, allowed the Department of Homeland (DHS) security to turn away illegal immigrants to restrict Covid from coming across the border.
The Biden administration has seen record numbers of illegal immigrants cross the border, with over 2.3 million people in 2022. April 2023 was the highest month for encounters the DHS has ever seen.
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