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Rubio, Salazar, Colleagues to Biden: Designate Tren de Aragua as a Transnational Criminal Organization

Mar 14, 2024 | Comunicados de Prensa

Tren de Aragua is a well-known criminal organization that originated in the prisons of Venezuela and has extended throughout our hemisphere. This transnational criminal structure has spearheaded murders, bribery schemes, drug-trafficking, kidnappings, ransoms, arms trafficking, and money laundering.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and María Elvira Salazar (R-FL), led colleagues in sending a letter to President Joe Biden demanding he formally designate the vicious Tren de Aragua as a Transnational Criminal Organization.

  • “Tren de Aragua is an invading criminal army from a prison in Venezuela that has spread their brutality and chaos to U.S. cities and small towns. 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. The breadth of Tren de Aragua’s operations encompasses murder, drug and human trafficking, sex crimes, extortion, and kidnapping, among other brutalities.”

Joining Rubio and Salazar were Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), and John Cornyn (R-TX),  as well as U.S. Representatives Andy Ogles (R-TN), Carlos Giménez (R-FL), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Tony Gonzalez (R-TX), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), Mike Waltz (R-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), C. Scott Franklin (R-FL), Randy Weber (R-TX), Jim Baird (R-IN), and Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY).

Flashback… Rubio gave an exclusive preview of the bicameral letter during his recent  interview in América Radio 1260 AM.

El full text of the letter

Dear Mr. President:

We request that you immediately designate the Tren de Aragua, Venezuela’s largest criminal gang, as a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO). This designation is crucial to effectively mobilize national awareness as a result of this threat, as well as deploy necessary resources and sanctions that will help to curb the escalating crime and violence threatening communities across the United States. How many more innocent victims will have to suffer before we fully recognize and address the grave threat Tren de Aragua gang members cause to the peace, stability, and the national security of our nation?

Tren de Aragua is an invading criminal army from a prison in Venezuela that has spread their brutality and chaos to U.S. cities and small towns. 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. The breadth of Tren de Aragua’s operations encompasses murder, drug and human trafficking, sex crimes, extortion, and kidnapping, among other brutalities. It is clear that most state and local law enforcement agencies are not yet prepared to handle the magnitude of this grave threat. 

In Ecuador and Colombia, Tren de Aragua has plunged communities into chaos. Similarly, in Chile and Peru, they have sown fear and instability, undermining the credibility of government institutions, as well as the safety and security of innocent civilians. We cannot afford to underestimate the devastating damage posed by Tren de Aragua. Failure to designate Tren de Aragua as a TCO will only embolden its expansion, leading to heightened violence and criminality within the United States. We cannot permit our cities to become battlegrounds for such organizations, nor can we allow our citizens to suffer at their hands.

Heinous crimes committed by the Tren de Aragua, like the rapes of multiple children and the murders of retired police officer José Luis Sánchez Valera and nursing student Laken Riley, must stop. By designating the Tren de Aragua as a TCO, we will send a clear message that its reign of terror will not be tolerated, and that we will stand united in our resolve to protect our communities from the scourge of transnational organized crime. The time to act is now.

Atentamente,