A 22-year old “immigration activist” whose father and uncle were both arrested in connection with a massive cocaine bust at a housing project in Los Angeles, and whose mother was taken into custody by Border Patrol for “being present in the country illegally,” has herself been detained by federal authorities.
According to the Los Angeles Times and other sources, Claudia Rueda, currently enrolled at Cal State L.A. with a focus on Latin American studies, “was taken into custody [Thursday] while moving her family’s car outside their Boyle Heights home, and late Thursday, she was being held by the U.S. Border Patrol at a detention facility near San Diego, according to her attorney, Monika Langarica.”
“She was moving the car because of street sweeping,” Monika Langarica, the woman’s lawyer, told the Times. “Before she got out of the car, three vehicles pulled up.” and Rueda was taken away.
The Democratic Socialists of America’s Los Angeles Chapter is alleging in a Facebook post and on its website that Rueda was arrested as a form of retaliation for her activism, and has launched a “Free Claudia” campaign. San Diego Border Patrol agent Takei Michael, however, informed Breitbart News that her arrest was for “immigration violations.”
“There is a lot that suggests retaliatory behavior on Border Patrol’s part,” Rueda’s attorney said, according to the Times story.
Friday afternoon, Customs Border Protection issued the following statement regarding Reuda’s arrest:
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested seven individuals, some of whom are associated with a cross-border narcotics smuggling organization based in Los Angeles on May 18.
The arrests were the result of targeted enforcement actions that were initiated from a criminal investigation of the organization. The arrests took place at multiple locations throughout Los Angeles. Agents arrested each of the seven individuals for immigration violations.
Among those who were arrested was Claudia Rueda-Vidal, 22, who is a female Mexican national illegally residing in the country in violation of the terms of her visa.
Rueda is the daughter of Teresa Vidal-Jaime and Hugo Rueda, who are also connected to the narcotics smuggling organization that was the subject of the investigation. Ms. Vidal-Jaime and Mr. Rueda were both arrested on April 24, pursuant to the discovery of 33 pounds of cocaine and $630,000 in illicit U.S. currency. Agents arrested Ms. Vidal-Jaime for an immigration violation and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. arrested Mr. Rueda for state narcotics charges.
“These targeted arrests should send a stern message to anyone linked to transnational smuggling,” said Roy D. Villareal, Deputy Chief Patrol Agent of the San Diego Sector. “Our agents will be relentless in their effort to put these organizations out of business.”
Also arrested during yesterday’s targeted enforcement effort were five male Mexican nationals and one female Guatemalan national.
Lt. Jay Moss of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department narcotics bureau spoke to Breitbart News in detail about the drug arrests that were the background to Rueda’s arrest.
According to a report in the LAist, “[Reuda] is eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection and ‘has been preparing for apply for DACA but had been unable to gather the money for the filing fees.’”
The filing fee is $498.00, according to the National Immigration Law Center.