The Hispanics from Florida were identified as Omar Mejía Ortiz, Valerie Celeste Salcedo Mena, Brandon Mauricio Araya and Steve Eduardo Sánchez Araya were indicted on charges of robbery in a vacant structure
Authorities in Florida have arrested four Hispanic suspects who allegedly looted in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian as many residents struggle to recover from the scourge of the natural disaster.
The Hispanics were identified as Omar Mejía Ortiz, 33, Valerie Celeste Salcedo Mena, 26, Brandon Mauricio Araya and Steve Eduardo Sánchez Araya, 20. Lee County Sheriff’s deputies booked the suspects on charges of burglary of a vacant structure during a state of emergency, according to jail records.
Florida is a law and order state.
Looting and lawlessness will not be tolerated. pic.twitter.com/8Ma9RuSlPq
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 1, 2022
Likewise, Ortiz was accused of minor orchard, while the other three were accused of grand theft. It was not clear precisely when and where the looting took place.
The four criminals were released after posting $35,000 bail.
The arrests came after Lee County issued a mandatory curfew and a “zero tolerance” policy for looting.
The county located in southwest Florida was devastated by Hurricane Ian, prompting authorities to issue alerts after seeing thieves ransacking homes in Fort Myers.
“When police were unable to respond due to weather conditions, there was a raid on the Cleveland Avenue River,” Lee County Manager Roger Dejarlais said at a news conference last week.
For his part, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also issued warnings against looters looking to rob abandoned homes and businesses.
“Don’t even think about looting,” DeSantis said at a news conference. “Don’t even think about taking advantage of people in this vulnerable situation.”
“When I say zero tolerance, zero tolerance means we will hunt you down, we will track you down and you will go to jail. If you’re lucky,” warned the Republican governor.
“Florida is a state of law and order,” the Republican governor tweeted the next day. “Looting and anarchy will not be tolerated.”
The state of Florida is recovering from the billions of dollars in damage that was caused by the hurricane, while the state’s rivers continue to rise, which could lead to more flooding and damage.
So far, at least 97 deaths have been confirmed in Florida following the passage of Hurricane Ian.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.