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June 28, 2022 11:09 pm

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: ICE arrests gay Va. man after traffic stop

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From left: Josh Ayala and his partner, Luis Valladares Cruz. (Photo courtesy of Josh Ayala)

A gay man in Virginia says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested his partner last month after they pulled over his car.

Luis Valladares Cruz’s partner, Josh Ayala, told the Washington Blade last week during a telephone interview that they left their home in Woodbridge early on Aug. 13 to go to Starbucks. Ayala said he and Valladares left their neighborhood and then saw “flashing lights behind us” once they drove onto Old Bridge Road.

“We pulled to the side (of the road) because we were
wondering you know, why is that,” Ayala told the Blade.

Ayala said he and Valladares assumed it was a “routine
police stop.”

“I really thought they were just police,” said
Ayala. “We pulled off to the side (of the road.) It happened so quick, I
didn’t even see when they got out.”

Ayala said four men who did not identify themselves as ICE
agents surrounded the car. Ayala conceded to the Blade the car’s license plates
had expired, but he said he explained to the agents that he had gone to the
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles two days earlier to renewed them. Ayala
told the Blade he then showed them his registration and asked them why they had
stopped him.

“We’re stopping you because your vehicle matches the
description of a vehicle affiliated with a crime in this area,” said one
of the agents, according to Ayala.

Ayala said he and Valladares then gave the agents their IDs.

“Literally in three seconds he gives back mine, but
with his identification when he shows it to them, that’s when they immediately
are like, get out of the vehicle. We’re here for you,” Ayala told the Blade.
“We have a warrant for your arrest, and I was in shock.”

Ayala told the Blade the same agents a year earlier stopped them and identified themselves as “undercover cops.” Ayala said he asked them why they were arresting Valladares and requested to see a warrant, but they did not show him.

A portion of the arrest that Ayala recorded on his cell phone shows Valladares standing behind the car with three masked agents.

Ayala told the Blade he later figured out ICE had arrested Valladares when the Prince William County Police Department confirmed it did not have any outstanding warrants for him. Ayala in a second tweet posted a recording of a phone call he received from Valladares after he arrived at the Caroline Detention Facility in Bowling Green, Va.

“They took me to Target over there by the house and they slammed me on the floor,” Valladares told Ayala, speaking through tears as he recalled his arrest. “I was screaming in the parking lot because they had a car hiding over there at the Target where they have this construction site. They took me over there, babe.”

“They tried to slam me in the car and I kept putting my feet against the car because I didn’t want to get deported … they kept doing it and doing it,” said Valladares. “My hands are all bruised up. My skin is ripped apart on both of my hands … they grabbed the handcuffs and they put them so tight and they picked me up in my handcuffs and they scrapped my skin off my hands.”

ICE spokesperson on Wednesday in a statement to the Blade confirmed ICE
Enforcement and Removal Operations officers arrested Valladares near his home
in Woodbridge on Aug. 13.

officers targeted Valladares-Cruz for immigration enforcement based on the fact that he is subject to a final order of
removal issued by an immigration judge,” said the spokesperson.

Ayala told the Blade that ICE told him the deportation order stems from Valladares’ failure to appear in court when he was 7. The ICE spokesperson noted “ICE records indicate” Valladares “has an outstanding criminal arrest warrant in the state of Georgia for failure to appear for an April 2016 charge for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.”

Ayala continues to
strongly dispute the charge against Valladares.

“The marijuana
wasn’t his: Point blank, period,” said Ayala. “I don’t know why they
keep saying that.”

Ayala told the Blade the person who was with Valladares in Georgia “already confessed” the marijuana was his and is currently in prison for other charges.

“ICE is basically using whatever they want to use against him to make him look bad,” said Ayala, referring to Valladares.

ICE spokesperson also disputed Ayala’s claim the officers who arrested
Valladares did not disclose their affiliation.

officers conducted the traffic stop to arrest Valladares-Cruz, the intended
target of the enforcement action, for immigration violations,” said the
spokesperson. “They did not claim to represent any other law enforcement
agency or purpose. While ICE officers travel in unmarked vehicles, they can
easily be identified by their agency-branded badges and protective gear. ICE
officers are sworn federal law enforcement officers who enforce laws enacted by

More than 30 coronavirus cases at Valladares’ detention center

Valladares, 25, is originally from Honduras, a country in Central America where violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity remains commonplace.

The officers
arrested Valladares roughly two months after Prince William County ended its
cooperation agreement with ICE that former Board Chair Corey Stewart
championed. Advocates and elected officials have also accused ICE of not doing
enough to protect detainees from the coronavirus.

ICE on
its website notes as of 2:55 p.m.
on Tuesday there were 31 detainees with confirmed coronavirus cases at the
Caroline Detention Center.

said Valladares has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently in

“It just really pisses me off … how inconsiderate they are and how they let that happen,” said Ayala. “They don’t care.”

Ayala said Valladares’ deportation hearing has not been scheduled. The Blade’s efforts to reach Valladares’ lawyer for comment have thus far been unsuccessful.

“He’s really going crazy and is paranoid,” said Ayala.

The post ICE arrests gay Va. man after traffic stop appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights

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