Migrant accused of shooting 2 NYPD officers part of Venezuelan gang, says they smuggle guns into city shelters

During an appearance in court to be arraigned in the shooting of two New York City Police officers, an illegal migrant revealed how weapons have been smuggled into migrant shelters.

Bernardo Raul Castro Mata, 19, essentially revealed he is a member of a gang that likes to shoot cops as he appeared in Queens County Criminal Court on Wednesday. The Venezuelan migrant who entered the country in 2023 was in a wheelchair and had his arm cuffed to it in the courtroom where he was arraigned on two counts of attempted murder.

“Mata was indicted for shooting Officer Richard Yarusso and Officer Christopher Abreu in early June in East Elmhurst as they tried to pull him over while he was on a scooter and going the wrong way on a one-way street, prosecutors said,” CBS News reported.

He shot at the officers as he resisted arrest. They were treated at the hospital and released.

Mata remains in custody at Bellevue Hospital and said he was a member of the notorious Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua.

(Video Credit: Fox5)

“Tren de Aragua members are smuggling firearms into city shelters inside food delivery packages, that way they don’t have to go through metal detectors,” Mata reportedly said in audio recordings read by prosecutors.

“It’s common practice for Tren de Aragua gang members to shoot at police officers because Venezuelan police officers shoot at gang members for minor infractions. Venezuelan police officers get shot often in my home country because criminals feel there is a chance of getting away,” Mata reportedly told police.

He has pleaded not guilty and could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

“This dangerous individual wasn’t afraid to shoot a New York City police officer because he thought he was going to get away with it,” Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, said at a press conference after the arraignment. “Not in this country.”

“Anyone who attacks a police officer needs to be prosecuted, sentenced, and then deported,” he said.

Robberies and grand larcenies have increased by 300% in the past year according to NYC police. This as the so-called sanctuary city opened its arms to welcome illegal migrants by the thousands.

Frieda Powers


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