Tren de Aragua: Ruthless Transnational Venezuelan Gang Has Entered the US Through Joe Biden’s Open Southern Border

by J Pelkey
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Tren de Aragua gang, pictured in a September prison raid – Source: Daily Mail

Members of Congress have called for the designation of Tren de Aragua, a ruthless Venezuelan gang now operating across the United States and throughout Latin America, as a transnational criminal organization.

Retired General Óscar Naranjo, former vice president of Colombia and chief of the Colombian National Police, described Tren de Aragua as “the most disruptive criminal organization operating nowadays in Latin America, a true challenge for the region.”

Tren de Aragua originated from construction labor unions in Venezuela and later established its headquarters in the country’s Tocorón prison, which they controlled. Inside the prison, Tren de Aragua leaders lived in luxury.

When federal police raided the prison last year, they found that the gang had amenities such as a swimming pool, cable TV, air-conditioning, a horse racing betting center, and a discotheque selling alcohol and drugs. Remarkably, they also operated a bank that accepted deposits from outside the prison and paid 20% interest.

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Heavily armed with automatic weapons, the gang managed operations from their cells, engaging in extortion, drug trafficking, human trafficking, bribery, and murder. Although the police raid dismantled their prison headquarters, Tren de Aragua has only faced a temporary setback and continues to expand its operations across North and South America.

Tren de Aragua has reportedly established a presence in several major U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Baton Rouge, where the group operated a sex trafficking ring. Members have been arrested for carrying loaded firearms, committing violent crimes, and running sex trafficking networks.


In Chicago, confirmed Tren de Aragua member Adelvis Rodriguez-Carmona was arrested for his involvement in a drive-by shooting in the Little Italy neighborhood. The New York Police Department has identified the gang as being involved in a series of cell phone thefts throughout the city.

Bernardo Raul Castro-Mata, a Tren de Aragua member, entered the U.S. illegally from Venezuela. He shot two police officers in New York and was a suspect in several robberies in Queens. His gang-related tattoos are recorded in U.S. law enforcement databases, and many lawmakers and law enforcement officials argue that these tattoos should be grounds for barring individuals from legal immigration to the U.S.

Johan Jose Cardenas Silva, wanted in Peru for conspiracy and assault, was arrested in New York for criminal possession of a weapon and intent to sell controlled substances. Lawmakers believe that being wanted by a foreign police department should also be grounds for preventing someone from legally immigrating to the U.S.

In Miami, Tren de Aragua member Yurwin Salazar, an illegal alien wanted by police in Venezuela, was charged with first-degree murder, armed home invasion, kidnapping, and carjacking, including the killing of a retired Venezuelan police officer. This case underscores the danger of allowing known and vicious criminals into the country and highlights how violence from Latin America is being exported to the U.S.

As reported by CNN, according to U.S. immigration officials, the number of Tren de Aragua members who have already entered the U.S. is unknown.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative María Elvira Salazar (R-FL) led colleagues in sending a letter to President Joe Biden, emphasizing the urgent need to dismantle the Tren de Aragua gang.

The letter stated, “If left unchecked, they will unleash an unprecedented reign of terror, mirroring the devastation it has already inflicted in communities throughout Central and South America, most prominently in Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.”

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