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The Venezuelan migrant accused of shooting two agents in New York told authorities that he was recruited by Tren de Aragua

According to the New York Post, the accused Bernardo Raúl Castro Mata revealed to the authorities that a “coordinator” of the gang contacted him to join the gang.

El migrante venezolano acusado de disparar a dos agentes en Nueva York dijo a las autoridades que fue reclutado por el Tren de Aragua

Momento en el que era detenido

Bernardo Raúl Castro Mata, a 19-year-old Venezuelan migrant accused of shooting two agents in New York, reportedly told authorities that he was recruited by a “coordinator” of the dangerous Venezuelan gang “Tren de Aragua,” according to the tabloid New York Post (NYP) which cited police sources.

According to the NYP, Castro Mata, who entered the United States illegally in July 2023 through Texas, told New York authorities that members of Tren de Aragua in New York facilitated joining the gang of motorcycle thieves that operate in the five districts.

He also mentioned that the coordinator encouraged him to get tattoos supposedly distinctive of the Venezuelan gang accused of operating in New York and organizing a massive cell phone theft operation by recruiting illegal immigrants.

“The ‘coordinator’ for the brutal street gang provides its members in New York City with mopeds, used in lucrative cellphone robberies,” Castro Mata revealed to the New York Police Department, according to the NYP.

Castro Mata, from Venezuela, a country facing an economic crisis and governed by a socialist dictator, entered the United States through Texas but later moved to New York, where he settled in a shelter in Queens, living with three other people.

However, Castro Mata hadn’t lived there since May 15, according to police sources.

The NYP reported that Castro Mata had left the shelter after he became suspected of participating in a series of motorcycle robberies. Later, he was involved in a shootout and was charged with shooting two police officers.

The migrant was later arraigned at a Queens hospital on two counts of attempted murder and other charges for the shooting that left two police officers injured. However, he has not yet been accused of participating in the cell phone thefts.

In total, Castro Mata faces 17 criminal charges, all related to the shooting of officers Christopher Abreu and Richard Yarusso.

Even though the New York authorities have leaked to the press that Tren de Aragua already operates in New York City and that ICE confirmed the detention of several migrants linked to the dangerous Venezuelan gang on the border, security experts say that it is very difficult to confirm the presence of the gang in the United States as there is no direct cooperation with the Venezuelan authorities for the transmission of information.

In fact, in New York, it has only been possible to officially confirm the arrest of a Venezuelan migrant belonging to Tren de Aragua who was wanted in Peru, a country where the criminal organization has established itself in recent years.

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.