Venezuelan Gang Are Smuggling Guns into NYC Migrant Shelters


A 19-year-old illegal immigrant, Bernardo Raul Castro Mata, has made a shocking confession to detectives, alleging that a Venezuelan gang, Tren de Aragua, is smuggling guns into New York City migrant shelters in food delivery bags. Mata, who entered the US illegally last year, claims he was a member of the gang and was given a gun to smuggle into a shelter.

According to police, Mata was pulled over for driving a scooter the wrong way down a one-way street on June 3. He allegedly shot at two police officers from point-blank range, and was subsequently treated and released from the hospital. Mata claims he was returning from his work as a food delivery driver and was in possession of the illegal gun when police stopped him.

Mata, who is from Venezuela, crossed into the US at Eagle Pass, Texas last July. He is facing charges of two counts of murder, both in the first and second degree, and has entered a not-guilty plea. The Queens grand jury has indicted him on a 20-count indictment.

Following his claims against Tren de Aragua, Mata will be placed in protective custody. He will be held without bail after an order from Judge Kenneth C. Holder. District Attorney Melinda Katz wants to ensure that Mata comes to trial and is held accountable for the “attempted murder” of the two police officers.

Laura Ingle
Laura Ingle
Senior Correspondent. Laura covers breaking news, general assignment stories, and contributes to enterprise reporting on true crime cases. Based in New York City, Ingle is an award-winning veteran journalist. Previously, she served as a senior correspondent at FOX News Channel for nearly 20 years from August 2005 – June 2023.

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