Brownsville police arrests woman for making false COVID-19 reports

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Brownsville Police Department arrested Leslie Hinojosa and charged her making a false alarm or report.

Brownsville (Texas)- Brownsville police has arrested a woman for making “false alarm or report” on social media regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Brownsville police spokesperson Melissa Gonzalez, officials received several complaints from concerned citizens on Thursday regarding a woman making alarming posts on social media.

30-year-old Leslie Hinojosa posted that she had come into contact with someone who had COVID-19 and threatened to walk around local stores.

The Facebook post Hinojosa wrote read as follows, “Since the city of Brownsville doesn’t care about me getting tested for the COVID-19 and I’ve been in contact with someone who is infected, I’m just going to walk around the stores maybe then they’ll arrest me and test me.”

The threat, whether Hinojosa’s claim was valid or not, is a violation of Penal Code 42.06 according to Brownsville police.

Earlier this month, Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz announced, under Texas’ Disaster Declaration amid the COVID-19 pandemic, “people who willfully make false statements about being infected or about potential exposure to COVID-19 are subject to prosecution.” The false alarm offense is “a person commits an offense if he [she] knowing initiates, communicates, or circulates a report of a present, past, or future emergency that he [she]  knows is false or baseless. This applies to claims made verbally or via social media.”

Arrests under a Disaster Declaration result in enhanced punishments, according to DA Saenz. Crimes such as “assault, arson, robbery, burglary, burglary of a vehicle, criminal trespass and theft.”

Hijonosa was taken into custody the same day and was transported to city jail where she was booked.

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