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EXCLUSIVE: Venezuelan Gang Member Accused Of Kidnapping, Strangling Florida Man To Death Was In US Illegally

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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A member of a violent Venezuelan gang accused of kidnapping and strangling to death a man in Florida was in the U.S. illegally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Border Patrol in Danie Beach, Florida, issued a detainer with the Miami Dade County Corrections for the arrest of Yurwin Salazar Maita, the illegal alien from Venezuela, on Jan. 10 following his arrest on state homicide and kidnapping charges, ICE told the DCNF. Salazar Maita, who is a member of the Venezuelan gang Tren De Aragua, is accused of kidnapping and murdering Jose Luis Sanchez Valera in November, according to a local news report. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Man Who Allegedly Defrauded Elderly American Out Of Thousands Of Dollars Was In The US Illegally)

(Photo by PEDRO RANCES MATTEY/AFP via Getty Images)

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during the closing campaign ahead the referendum for the defense of the Essequibo territory in Caracas, on December 1, 2023. (Photo by PEDRO RANCES MATTEY/AFP via Getty Images)

“As part of its mission to identify and arrest removable noncitizens, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) lodges immigration detainers against noncitizens who have been arrested for criminal activity and taken into custody by state or local law enforcement. An immigration detainer is a request from ICE to state or local law enforcement agencies to notify ICE as early as possible before a removable noncitizen is released from their custody,” an ICE spokesperson told the DCNF.

The victim was lured on Nov. 27 by women to a La Quinta Inn & Suites in Doral, Florida, according to the local report. At around 2:35 a.m. on Nov. 28, Sanchez Valera left the hotel room with two women and was ambushed by three individuals, allegedly including Salazar Maita, who kidnapped him in the hotel parking lot.

Two gunmen also broke into Sanchez Valera’s apartment, stealing a safe, according to the local report. Sanchez Valera’s relatives later found his dead body in his car, where he had his hands and feet bound with tape in the back seat, and a medical examiner later ruled his cause of death as asphyxiation.

Tren de Aragua primarily exploits Venezuelan women and children in trafficking in Peru, according to the State Department. The gang’s leader Héctor Guerrero, 40, fled a prison in Venezuela that he gained control over and is a fugitive wanted in Venezuela, Peru, Chile and by Interpol, according to the local news outlet.

Young members of the Venezuelan gang have been trying to enter the U.S. by forgoing tattoos showing their affiliation to skirt border authorities, Kyle Williamson, the director of the West Texas Anti-Gang Center located in El Paso, Texas, previously told the DCNF.

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