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Florida Sheriff Announces Arrests Of Illegal Immigrants For Looting After Hurricane Ian

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Florida’s Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno responded to the recent arrests of several illegal immigrants in his county for looting following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian, saying that the residents of his county will now be safe.

Marceno made the comments during a press conference on Tuesday, announcing the arrests of four suspected looters. Law enforcement officials arrested Omar Mejia Ortiz, 33, Valerie Celeste Salcedo Mena, 26, Brandon Mauricio Araya, 20, and Steve Eduardo Sanchez Araya, 20, on charges of burglary of an unoccupied structure during a state of emergency.

“As far as looting — we have law and order in Lee County. We have law and order in our great state of Florida, and we always will,” Marceno said. “Right now, we have four cases of looting, and I’m proud to say they’re behind bars where they belong. Our residents are going to be safe.”

Marceno said that three of the four suspected looters are illegal immigrants, saying, “All three of these subjects are here illegally in this country — Robert Mena, Brandon Araya, Stephen Araya — all arrested for stealing bottles on Fort Myers Beach during the hurricane. They were located and arrested. And I’m going to tell I’m not tolerating it again.”

Marceno also warned that looters are risking their lives by committing the crime because many Floridians are armed.

“I’m not playing. We’re not playing. We have law and order, and great residents will be safe and secure. We’ve had arrests on these incidents,” Marceno added. “You might walk in. You’ll be carried out.”

Marceno’s warning echoes similar comments made by Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis last week.

“They boarded up all the businesses, and there are people that wrote on their plywood, ‘You loot, we shoot,’” DeSantis said at the time. “At the end of the day, we are not going to allow lawlessness to take advantage of this situation. We are a law-and-order state, and this is a law-and-order community, so do not think that you’re going to go take advantage of people who’ve suffered misfortune.”

“I would not take that chance,” DeSantis added. “Florida is a Second Amendment state.”

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