Violent Venezuelan Gang Tren De Aragua Expands Operations In US

The violent Venezuelan gang, Tren de Aragua (TDA), has expanded its operations in the United States, exploiting the border crisis to establish a criminal foothold. This brutal gang, formed in Venezuela’s Aragua state, is responsible for a series of heinous crimes, including a murder in Doral, Florida, and the shooting of two New York City police officers. A multi-state sex-trafficking ring connected to TDA was also dismantled by law enforcement in Louisiana.

TDA’s rise in the U.S. is tied to the influx of Venezuelans illegally crossing the border under President Joe Biden’s administration. Many TDA members followed this wave of migrants, leveraging the chaos to infiltrate the country. The gang has deep ties to the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela, where they act as enforcers and control much of the criminal underworld.

The Biden administration has been alerted to the threat posed by TDA, but according to a source within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the issue has not been adequately addressed. The source expressed frustration, stating, “It’s frustrating that no matter the indicators we have about possible TDA members or affiliates, the emphasis on processing, and not enforcement, remains the same.”

TDA’s criminal activities in the U.S. have caught the attention of law enforcement and the media. In April, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens warned about the gang on social media platform X, highlighting their involvement in murder, drug trafficking, sex crimes, and extortion. Owens shared an image of an illegal immigrant arrested in Texas with TDA tattoos as evidence of their presence.

Unlike other notorious gangs like MS-13, TDA members often hide their affiliations. They do not cover themselves in tattoos, making it harder for authorities to identify them. Despite this, law enforcement agencies in Illinois and Indiana have linked over 100 criminal cases to suspected TDA members. In Cook County, at least two TDA members have been arrested on narcotics and weapons charges.

The Biden administration’s vetting process is further complicated by Venezuela’s refusal to share criminal histories with CBP, making it difficult to identify TDA members. This, combined with Democratic jurisdictions’ soft-on-crime policies, creates a dangerous environment where TDA can thrive.

As TDA continues to expand its influence in the U.S., the need for robust law enforcement measures and comprehensive immigration policies becomes more urgent. The ongoing border crisis and the presence of dangerous gangs like TDA highlight the challenges facing the nation in maintaining security and protecting its citizens.