Two Men ‘Believed’ To Be Illegal Immigrants Accused Of Posing As ICE Agents To Extort Hispanic Community

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the conclusion to a week-long targeted enforcement operation that resulted in the apprehension of over 125 at-large aliens across the state of California, where sanctuary policies have largely prohibited the cooperation of law enforcement agencies in the arrest of criminal aliens

Two men believed to be in the U.S. unlawfully are accused of dressing up as federal immigration agents and threatening to deport various Hispanics in the community unless they pay them money, according to local prosecutors.

Laurentiu Baceanu and Alexandru Vasile, both from Romania, were charged with hate crimes and other robbery offenses for allegedly identifying themselves as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to Hispanic individuals and threatening to deport them unless they hand over money, according to a Wednesday press release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

However, prosecutors believe that Baceanu and Vasile themselves are illegal immigrants. Local authorities also suspect Baceanu and Vasile are tied to other crimes across the country.

“The two suspects, who are believed to be in the United States illegally and have ties to Romanian organized criminal organizations, have also been charged with felony kidnapping, false imprisonment, and robberies in Contra Costa County, and are suspected to have carried out similar crimes in Santa Clara County, and possibly in the states of Washington and New York,” prosecutors said.

The two men allegedly wore fake law enforcement badges around their necks while they spoke Spanish to their victims and threatened to deport them unless they handed over a form of payment, according to local prosecutors. They allegedly preyed on laborers, street food vendors and others they suspected of being illegal immigrants afraid of deportation.

An Anaheim police report confirmed that one of the men targeted Hispanic males because he believed “they have cash, they are not smart, they do not fight and they are scared due to their immigration status and would not call the police,” according to the district attorney.

The arrest follows a major crackdown on Romanian-linked crime by local law enforcement. Orange County police in January announced the arrest of nearly 50 suspects believed to be affiliated with Romanian organized crime, with one of Romania’s most wanted criminals among those arrested in the county-wide sweep.

The Romanian crime wave is, in large part, being fueled by the southern border crisis, authorities say.

“Criminals with ties to organized Romanian crime are continuing to prey on the most vulnerable of victims here in Orange County and across the nation while using the porous southern border as a direct pipeline to enter the United States with the sole purpose of committing crimes,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer stated.

“The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are painfully aware of the significant risk Romanian organized crime rings pose to the United States, but while President Biden is busy forgiving millions and millions in student loans, he continues to ignore the most basic function of government – protecting public safety,” Spitzer continued.

ICE did not immediately confirm the immigration status of Baceanu and Vasile when contacted by the Daily Caller News Foundation.


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