Authorities After “Migrant Influencer”

( – Leonel Moreno, a migrant from Venezuela and social media influencer, is on the run and hiding from authorities. Moreno came to the United States illegally by crossing the border in Eagle Pass, Texas, in April 2022. He was placed in the Alternatives to Detention Program (ATD) which allows migrants the ability to move about freely and be tracked using ankle monitors or similar technology. Moreno was listed as an absconder from the ATD program when he missed a court date in November 2022.

Moreno became famous on the social media app TikTok for his videos instructing migrants on how to move into unoccupied homes in the U.S. as squatters and using “squatters’ rights” to claim the residence as their own. Other social media posts made by Moreno show him bragging about using the money he receives from the U.S. government to buy himself a car instead of putting the money to its intended use: supporting his toddler daughter. He has also boasted about making money as a TikTok influencer. He posted videos of himself waving hundred-dollar bills and claiming he doesn’t have to work to make money.

TikTok recently suspended Moreno’s account for promoting criminal activity. He had around half a million followers when the account was suspended. Moreno created a new TikTok account and began posting videos of himself begging for help, claiming he is in “danger of death” in the U.S. and that he has received “threats from powerful people.”

Venezuelans escaping socialism are one of the largest nationalities currently crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Not all Venezuelans are supportive of Moreno. Many have taken to social media to accuse him of inciting hatred against migrants with his videos. Others claim he is purposefully stoking anger to increase profits from social media, a common strategy among influencers.

Moreno is possibly living in Ohio. He posted a video in front of a police car from the suburb of Gahanna near Columbus, OH. Gahanna police said they are aware of the video but have had no contact with Moreno.

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