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State Rep. Lane Roberts (R-Joplin) speaks on the Missouri House floor in Jefferson City on February 12, 2024 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

(LISTEN): Former Missouri DPS director chairing new Missouri House committee on illegal immigrants and crime

State Rep. Lane Roberts (R-Joplin) speaks on the Missouri House floor in Jefferson City on February 12, 2024 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

The newly-formed Missouri House Special Interim Committee on Illegal Immigrant Crimes will hold an organizational meeting and its first public hearing Thursday morning in Jefferson City.

House Speaker Dean Plocher (R-Des Peres) formed the committee, which is chaired by State Rep. Lane Roberts (R-Joplin). Speaker Plocher tells 939 the Eagle’s “Wake Up Mid-Missouri” that the committee will find out what crimes are being committed by alleged illegal immigrants:

“They tend to be purportedly more heinous, more serious crimes. And we’ve all seen in the news how there’s some trafficking, sex trafficking, it’s really bad. That arrest was just in Missouri with a girl being transported from Indiana,” Speaker Plocher says.

The Speaker is referring to the case reported in late June by 939 the Eagle’s Mike Murphy. Murphy reports five suspects believed to be illegal immigrants were captured in northern Missouri’s Macon County with a 14-year-old runaway from Indiana. Police say they were allegedly trafficking her to the state of California. Murphy reports the five suspects are from Mexico and Honduras and are charged and jailed.

Representative Roberts, who chairs the Missouri House Crime Prevention and Public Safety committee, is a former state Department of Public Safety (DPS) director who also served as Joplin’s police chief. Speaker Plocher tells listeners that the committee will hold at least six hearings:

“They’re going to I believe across the state of Missouri. I would rather have a (Missouri House committee) report tomorrow but that’s impossible. I want it to be thorough,” Plocher says.

Speaker Plocher tells listeners that he’s concerned about sex trafficking and also fentanyl. Some Democratic lawmakers, including State Rep. David Tyson Smith (D-Columbia), say the committee is a waste of time and resources.

Tomorrow morning’s hearing begins at 11 at the Statehouse in Jefferson City.

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