Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said during a Tuesday morning press conference that three of the four people arrested on charges of looting were illegally residing in the United States.
“Three of the four are illegal aliens. These are people that are foreigners, they’re illegally in our country. Not only that, they tried to loot and ransack in the aftermath of a natural disaster,” DeSantis said during the press conference. “I mean, they should be prosecuted, but they need to be sent back to their home country. They should not be here at all.”
Lee County sheriff’s deputies arrested Omar Mejia Ortiz, Valerie Celeste Salcedo Mena, Brandon Mauricio Araya and Steve Eduardo Sanchez Araya.
Ortiz also faces a petit larceny charge, while the other three face charges of grand larceny.
“[T]hree of these subjects are here illegally in this country — Robert Mena, Brandon Araya, Stephen Araya — all arrested for stealing bottles on Fort Myers Beach during the hurricane,” Marceno said. “They were located and arrested. And I’m going to tell you I’m not tolerating it again.”
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis warned potential looters Friday that Florida was “a Second Amendment state” and that looting would not be tolerated. His remarks prompted criticism from MSNBC host Joy Reid, who compared him to a segregationist sheriff.