Texas Sheriff Calls For Criminal Charges Over Migrant Flights Organized By Ron DeSantis

California is also probing whether the Florida governor was behind migrant flights that landed in Sacramento without notice over the past week.

A Texas sheriff’s office is calling for criminal charges in the cruel political stunt involving the transportation of 49 migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard on false pretenses last September.

While the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has not identified suspects in the case, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) previously took credit for the scheme.

DeSantis allegedly used funds from a state program in Florida to pay for the flights that took migrants to the wealthy Massachusetts island.

“The charge filed is Unlawful Restraint and several accounts were filed, both misdemeanor and felony,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement to HuffPost. “At this time, the case is being reviewed by the DA’s office. Once an update is available, it will be provided to the public.”

The migrants, most of whom were from Venezuela, were lured away from the Texas facility by a hired scout, which The New York Times identified as Perla Huerta, and told they would be flown to Boston where they would receive expedited work papers. Instead, they were boarded on planes destined for Martha’s Vineyard.

The scheme drew the condemnation last year of Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, whose office thereafter opened an investigation into the events.

“I believe that they were preyed upon,” Salazar said of the migrants at the time. “Somebody came from out of state, preyed upon these people, lured them with promises of a better life, which is what they were absolutely looking for.”

A spokesperson for DeSantis had confirmed the flights were paid for by a state program.

“States like Massachusetts, New York and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states’ and support for the Biden administration’s open border policies,” Taryn M. Fenske, DeSantis’ communications director, said at the time.

Republicans, including DeSantis, who recently announced he is running for president, have been using these tactics to draw attention to what they describe as lax immigration policies by Democrats.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has bused migrants from his state to Democratic-led cities, including New York and Chicago, despite criticism.

Meanwhile, DeSantis is reportedly facing an investigation from the state of California into whether he was involved in organizing migrant flights in recent weeks from the Texas border to Sacramento.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said a second flight of migrants landed in the state’s capital Monday, following the arrival of “over a dozen migrants” in the city last week.

The flights were operated by the company Vertol Systems Inc., which was commissioned by Florida to transport the asylum-seekers to Martha’s Vineyard last year, Bonta said, according to The Associated Press.

In an interview with KCRA 3, Bonta explained that many migrants were told “Vertol Systems would help them find jobs if they got on the plane and traveled to where there were being taken.”

“We learned that many of them didn’t know where they were being taken and didn’t know where they were until they arrived,” Bonta added.

California’s attorney general issued a statement Saturday saying the asylum-seekers who landed in the state “were in possession of documentation purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida.”

“We are investigating the circumstances by which these individuals were brought to California,” Bonta said. “We are also evaluating potential criminal or civil action against those who transported or arranged for the transport of these vulnerable immigrants.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who has spatted with DeSantis in the past, suggested the Republican governor could face kidnapping charges over his alleged involvement.

“You small, pathetic man,” Newsom wrote on Twitter. “This isn’t Martha’s Vineyard.”

DeSantis has so far remained silent on the issue.

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