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ICE captures 2 suspected Venezuelan gang members in connection with NYPD assault

ICE officers have arrested two suspected Tren de Aragua gang members in connection with the shocking assaults of two New York City police officers last month.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)officers have arrested two suspected Venezuelan gang members in connection with the shocking assault of two New York City police officers last month.

Kelvin Servita-Arocha, 19, and Wilson Omar Juarez-Aguilarte, 21, are both illegal immigrants being held without bail in ICE custody, authorities told Fox News Digital. They were arrested on Tuesday in connection with a pair of immigration warrants. Juarez-Aguilarte was named in a final order of removal nearly a year ago.

"Both unlawfully present Venezuelan citizens have been charged in conjunction with the violent gang assault carried out on two NYPD officers and are currently detained without bond in ERO New York City custody," ICE spokesperson Marie Ferguson said Thursday. "Both noncitizens have been identified as members of the Tren de Aragua (TdA) transnational criminal organization."


TdA is a violent Venezuela-based gang that has expanded into multiple Latin American countries in the past few years and, more recently, has been attempting to gain footholds in the United States, according to authorities.

Servita-Arocha was among seven migrants indicted in connection with an attack on NYPD officers that shocked the country when video emerged earlier this month. Wilson Omar Juarez-Aguilarte's name had been previously given by Manhattan prosecutors as Wilson Juarez. The two were among four men suspected of fleeing NYC on a passenger bus after being released without bail.

Last week, the NYPD announced a crackdown on a Venezuelan gang after linking it to more than 62 robberies in four of the city's five boroughs. That gang is now believed to be Tren de Aragua, a violent Venezuelan organization with international ambitions.

On Monday, The New York Post identified Tren de Aragua as the gang behind New York City's soaring robberies, adding the gang was taking advantage of the Big Apple's sanctuary policies to plant members in the U.S. and generate profits for its "sprawling criminal empire."

Law enforcement sources told Fox News Digital that the group has transplanted its theft pattern from Caracas to U.S. soil – where the group has now been blamed for scooter and moped robberies as well as retail theft.

WATCH: NYC moped mugging caught on video


The FBI is monitoring the group for potential "emerging threats."

The gang began in a Venezuelan prison, according to Paul Mauro, a former NYPD inspector, and has expanded recruitment efforts and its footprint in other countries, including the U.S.

The gang's presence on American soil is new, he told Fox News Digital, as it has cropped up on the radars of law enforcement in New York, Texas and Miami.

"[I] don't ever recall dealing with them as an organized entity," when he was on the job just a few years ago, Mauro said. 

Tren de Aragua began its international expansion with a turf war across the Colombian border in 2018, according to InSight Crime, a nonprofit group that studies criminal organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Facing tough competition in the drug trafficking business, the gang took up human trafficking and smuggling instead.

As it expanded, it violently seized territory from smaller local groups, according to the nonprofit. It now operates in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil, in addition to its new efforts in the U.S.

In Lima, Peru, the turf war left 24 prostitutes dead, and the group allegedly posted videos of some of the murders online to scare off competition, according to the New York Post.

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