Immigration officers pulled over Josh Ayala near his Woodbridge home on August 13, according to ICE.
Inside the car with Ayala was his boyfriend, 25-year-old Louis Valladares-Cruz. The agents said Valladares-Cruz had a warrant for his arrest stemming from a failure to appear in an April 2016 charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Agents say they performed the traffic stop to arrest Valladares-Cruz because of his outstanding warrant; however, Ayala says they were impersonating police officers.
“I was angry,” says Ayala. “I was shocked I was saddened because honestly they did represent themselves as Prince William county police and I actually trusted the officers and that’s basically what I regret the most and that’s trusting the officers of the county because that’s not who they were do begin with and that was their cover up.”
ICE released the following statement about the incident:
“On Aug. 13, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrested Luis Fernando Valladares-Cruz, 25, an unlawfully present Honduran national near his home in Woodbridge, Virginia. ERO 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. ICE records indicate he has an active arrest warrant in the state of Georgia for failure to appear for an April 2016 charge for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
ICE officers conducted the traffic stop to arrest Valladares-Cruz, the intended target of the enforcement action, for immigration violations. 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 Congress.
Valladares-Cruz is currently being held in a detention facility in Caroline County.