A member of the Venezuelan mega-gang Tren de Aragua who was wanted in Peru is arrested in New York

It is Johan José Cárdenas Silva, who entered the country irregularly in October 2022 and had previously been arrested on March 27.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that a member of the dangerous Venezuelan mega-gang Tren de Aragua was detained by deportation officers in New York City.

ICE reported that the detained illegal migrant, Johan José Cárdenas Silva, entered the United States irregularly in October 2022 and was wanted by Peruvian authorities for crimes such as illicit association, assault and aggravated robbery.

According to the recently published report, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers detained Cárdenas on May 10, however, the immigrant’s criminal history in the United States dates back to March.

On March 27, Cárdenas was one of eight non-citizens arrested by the New York City Police Department who were charged with various crimes, including unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree, loaded firearm on school grounds, fifth-degree unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell; and acting in a way that injures a minor under 17 years of age.

ICE reported that the Bronx Criminal Court processed Cárdenas and released him on bail that same day. Due to the New York State Court Protection Law, the New York ERO was unable to arrest Cardenas at the time of his release.

Likewise, days after that first arrest, on April 1, the Nassau County Police Department arrested him again, charging him with the crimes of grand larceny in the fourth degree for the theft of property worth more than $1,000. Then, on April 9, the New York City Office of Enforcement and Removal finally received notification that Cárdenas was an international fugitive wanted by Peruvian authorities for an arrest warrant issued in October 2018.

“This international fugitive mistakenly thought he could waltz into the United States to not only evade justice in other countries but to continue his criminality with impunity,” said ERO’s New York City field office director, Kenneth Genalo. “His history of lawless behavior and membership in a violent international criminal organization clearly demonstrate that he is a serious threat to the public safety,”

According to Venezuelan journalist Ronna Risquez, an expert in transnational crime and author of the book “El Tren de Aragua: The Gang That Revolutionized Organized Crime in Latin America,” this is the first time that U.S. authorities have confirmed that they have arrested a confirmed member of the dangerous South American gang.

“Cárdenas falls due to an alert from Peru. We have a criterion that tells us that he may indeed be a member of the Tren de Aragua. In the other cases, there were suspicions, but there was nothing solid that assured us of their participation,” said Rísquez, referring to other cases where crime suspects were linked to the Aragua Train in Miami, Chicago or New York.

Rísquez argues that, despite the presence of Tren de Aragua members, there is still no complete certainty that the gang operates in the United States because there is no exchange of information between Venezuelan and American authorities.