A leading Florida sheriff has responded after his deputies arrested several illegal aliens who were allegedly caught looting in the wake of Hurricane Ian in which he made clear his department won’t be putting up with such behavior.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno’s response came after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) reminded those thinking about looking following last week’s massive storm that Florida is a “Second Amendment state” and looters could find themselves face-to-face with armed residents defending their property.
“I can tell you in the state of Florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody’s home,” DeSantis said. “And I would not want to chance that if I were you given that we are a Second Amendment state.”
At a press conference, Marceno said that four suspected looters had been arrested and that three of them were in the U.S. illegally.
Law enforcement officials arrested Omar Mejia Ortiz, 33, Valerie Celeste Salcedo Mena, 26, Brandon Mauricio Araya, 20, and Steve Eduardo Sanchez Araya, 20, on charges of burglarizing an unoccupied structure during a state of emergency, The Daily Wire reported.
“As far as looting — we have law and order in Lee County. We have law and order in our great state of Florida, and we always will,” said Marceno. “Right now, we have four cases of looting, and I’m proud to say they’re behind bars where they belong. Our residents are going to be safe.”
He added that Mena and both Arayas “are here illegally in this country.”
“They were located and arrested,” Marceno said. “I’m not tolerating it again.”
The sheriff then echoed the governor’s warning from last week that looters face serious injury or death from armed property owners who have the right to ‘stand their ground’ and defend themselves and their property with armed force in the state.
“I’m not playing. We’re not playing. We have law and order and great residents will be safe and secure. We’ve had arrests on these incidents,” Marceno added. “You might walk in. You’ll be carried out.”
The outlet added:
The arrests come after an illegal alien was arrested just days before Hurricane Ian clobbered the state for allegedly hitting and killing Deputy Mike Hartwick, who was providing security at a construction site along I-275.
Days before Hartwick was killed, DeSantis sent 50 illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
“They boarded up all the businesses, and there are people that wrote on their plywood, ‘you loot, we shoot,’” DeSantis said at a press conference on Friday. “At the end of the day, we are not going to allow lawlessness to take advantage of this situation. We are a law-and-order state, and this is a law-and-order community, so do not think that you’re going to go take advantage of people who’ve suffered misfortune.”
“The other thing that we’re concerned about, particularly in those areas that were really hard hit, is you know, we wanna make sure we’re maintaining law and order,” he said.
“Don’t even think about looting. Don’t even think about taking advantage of people in this vulnerable situation. And so local law enforcement is involved in monitoring that,” the governor added.