- Murugan was among 19 alleged child sex predators arrested in New Jersey’s Somerset County in an ‘Operation Open Door,’ an undercover sting investigation.
Duraikandan Murugan, 41, the subject of a pending criminal case in New Jersey related to attempted sexual assault of a minor, was arrested at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Monday, October 12, 2020, during a routine enforcement interview of passengers departing the U.S., the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials said on Wednesday.
Murugan was trying to flee the country on his friend’s passport, but his escape was cut short as he was caught at the airport. Murugan presented an Indian passport and boarding pass issued to Elvis Dias, and was selected for an interview, during a routine enforcement interview of passengers leaving the U.S. During the interview, the passenger’s wallet and carry-on luggage were searched, which yielded several documents issued to Murugan.
Mobile biometric verification was conducted, which revealed a pending criminal case against him related to attempted sexual assault of a minor.
During questioning, Murugan “freely admitted” he was Duraikandan Murugan and stated he had taken the passport of his friend Dias to leave the United States to see his ailing father, the CBP said in a statement.
Murugan was held by CBP in Chicago on suspected violations of U.S. immigration law. Additionally, the CBP contacted the State of New Jersey and Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office to advise them of Murugan’s detention in Chicago.
State authorities in New Jersey issued an arrest warrant for Murugan for using a passport belonging to another person to board an international flight. Murugan was turned over to the Chicago Police who will coordinate extradition back to New Jersey, the statement said.
“We work closely with state, local and federal law enforcement partners to identify individuals that are fugitives from the law and bring them to justice,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director-Chicago.
Murugan was among 19 alleged child sex predators arrested in New Jersey’s Somerset County in an ‘Operation Open Door,’ an undercover sting investigation. The arrests were announced on Oct. 31, 2019 by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, and other law enforcement officials.
The arrests were conducted from Oct. 23 to 28 when the men showed up at several addresses in the county after chatting with undercover agents who had been posing as minors.
According to a press release issued by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, Duraikandan Murugan, along with Nimeshbha Patel, Niraj Patel and Naveen Thangaraj were charged with first-degree promoting prostitution of a child under the age of 18, second-degree luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault of a minor, third-degree attempted endangering the welfare by debauching the morals of a child, and third-degree attempt to promote obscene material to a child.
‘Operation Open Door’ was “a multi-agency undercover operation that sought individuals using social media applications to lure underage girls and boys for sexual activity.”Murugan, 40 of Jasper, Indiana, was unemployed at the time. His charges were 2nd degree luring, 2nd degree attempted sexual assault, and 3rd degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child (age 14).