Marco Rubio
Florida Senator Marco Rubio AFP

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio requested that Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua be designated as a transnational criminal organization.

He added that the gang has reached American cities during a Senate Foreign Affairs committee hearing about criminal networks and corruption in The Americas.

"This is a vicious gang. They initially set themselves up in Venezuelan prisons and later became endemic in Peru, Panama, Bolivia and Brazil," he said.

"Now we're seeing evidence they reached the U.S. Every day we see reports from Chicago, south Florida and New York showing that they are here."

Rubio had already sent the Biden administration a letter along with Florida Representative Maria Elvira Salazar with such a request.

Speaking with State Department official Chris Landberg, he asked about the state of the request. Landberg said he was following the issue closely and had concerns that were "similar" to Rubio's.

In contrast with Rubio's requests, specialized outlet InSight crime said there is scant evidence supporting such claims.

Reports linking Tren de Aragua members to criminal activities in the United States have surfaced sporadically in recent months.

However, the investigation said, these incidents appear to have been isolated and lack clear ties to the gang's leadership in Venezuela.

Major law enforcement agencies in urban centers across the US, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, and New York City, report no notable presence or criminal activity linked to the gang within their jurisdictions.

The only specific mention came from NYPD, which told local outlets that Tren de Aragua was linked to a series of cell phone robberies.

The criminal organization has been making regional headlines lately. This week, Chilean president Gabriel Boric recalled his country's ambassador in Caracas after Venezuela's foreign minister Yvan Gil described Tren de Aragua's presence in the country as a "fiction created by international media."

"The irresponsible statements of Venezuela's foreign minister, ignoring the existence of the Tren de Aragua, are worrying and constitute a serious insult to those who have been victims of this organization," said Boric.

Boric went on to accuse Venezuela of not cooperating with the southern countries in the fight against irregular migration and regional organized crime.

He emphasized that denying a reality he considers tangible and proven "is not an option," also describing Gil's words as "deeply worrisome."

According to El Pais, The Chilean Public Prosecutor's Office has been investigating El Tren de Aragua for at least two years.

It is suspected of having committed crimes in various regions of Chile including migrant trafficking, sexual exploitation of migrant women, homicides, extortions, tortures, and drug trafficking.

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