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ICE arrests illegal immigrant who admits being member of Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua

Yerbin Benjamín Lozada Muñoz was previously arrested in New York for illegally occupying a residence in the Bronx where drugs and firearms were found.

Un edificio del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas-

(Eva Hambach / AFP)

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An alleged member of the Venezuelan criminal gang Tren de Aragua was arrested this Friday following an immigration detention request issued by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE).

Yerbin Benjamín Lozada Muñoz, who was previously arrested and released in connection with a raid on a residence in New York City containing drugs and firearms, was arrested again during a traffic stop in Nassau County.

After his arrest, Lozada Muñoz admitted to being a member of the transnational criminal organization and revealed that he had also been in prison in Venezuela for robbery and resisting arrest.

According to an ICE statement received by journalist Bill Melugin, Muñoz entered the United States illegally around October 3, 2022, and was arrested near Eagle Pass, Texas. He was released on parole at the time due to overcrowding at an ICE detention center in El Paso but failed to report to the ICE Deportation Operations office within the stipulated time frame, violating the conditions of his parole.

On April 1, Nassau County police arrested Muñoz for theft of more than $1,000, prompting ICE to file a detainer. Soon after he was released from the county jail, he was arrested again. It is worth mentioning that, in Nassau County, unlike New York City, local authorities are not prohibited from cooperating with immigration.

The 25-year-old man had also been arrested in New York on March 27 along with other Venezuelans who were squatting in a house in the Bronx. Authorities detained him and the other immigrants after an operation where drugs and weapons were found at the residence. But despite the multiple charges he faced for possession of firearms, drugs and ammunition, authorities released him while he awaited trial.

"Another example here of a suspected Tren de Aragua member being released into the U.S." Melugin noted, highlighting the urgency of having access to reliable records from Venezuela to verify the background of migrants from that country. "This guy spent time in VZ prison & was convicted of multiple crimes, yet he was still released into U.S. Why? We don't have access to Venezuela records/databases. How much "vetting" of these Venezuelan men can really happen?" he questioned.