Venezuelan Influencer Arrested Over Firearms Charges

By Victor Winston, updated on April 3, 2024

Leonel Moreno, a 27-year-old Venezuelan known for his influential migrant advice on social media, finds himself in a legal bind over federal firearms charges.

Leonel Moreno's recent activities, including displaying a firearm on social media while on parole, have led to his detention and potentially significant legal repercussions.

According to Daily Mail, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took notice of Moreno after he showcased a firearm on his Instagram account, sparking a report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE is now contemplating mounting charges against him under the Gun Control Act, which prohibits individuals on parole from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Currently under detention for neglecting mandatory check-ins as part of a parole program authorized under the Biden administration, Moreno's saga took a downturn following his illegal entrance into the US in 2022. Arrested on March 29 in Columbus, Ohio, he remains in custody at The Geauga County Jail, awaiting further legal proceedings.

A Glimpse into Moreno's Influence on Social Media

Leonel Moreno has leveraged his significant online presence to guide migrants on exploiting loopholes within the US housing system and accessing government aid.

His controversial stance, demonstrated through his public support for a 15-year-old Venezuelan migrant embroiled in violent charges in New York, underscores his role as a self-appointed advocate for Venezuelan migrants.

Through his posts, Moreno engaged his audience, expressing his opinions on firearms ownership, a stance that quickly attracted federal attention. Coupled with his visible wealth on social platforms, purportedly accrued from various government programs, Moreno's online persona became synonymous with migrant success stories, albeit through questionable means.

His TikTok account, a hub for sharing tips on squatting in vacant properties across the US, garnered over half a million followers before its suspension. Unfazed, Moreno resumed his activities on a new account, continually pushing the envelope on issues concerning migrant rights and welfare.

The Legal Ramifications of Social Media Flaunting

Moreno's social media bravado, including the display of firearms, not only contradicted his parole conditions but also hinted at deeper legal infractions. Claiming to have acquired a firearm legally and possessing a license, Moreno’s actions reflect a brazen disregard for the stringent regulations governing firearm possession and parolee conduct in the United States.

John Fabbricatore, the former ICE field office director, emphasized the gravity of Moreno's situation:

Charges under [Gun Control Act section] 922 (g) are a serious matter and can result in significant legal consequences for Moreno. This should be a warning to any illegal aliens that possessing a firearm unlawfully will result in criminal charges and hopefully lead to a conviction.

Despite Moreno's assertion of legality in his firearm possession, his current detainment underscores a pivotal moment in his burgeoning online activism. His online advice, though controversial, underscored a unique blend of social media influence and migrant advocacy.

Conclusion

The story of Leonel Moreno illustrates the thin line between online influence and real-world legal consequences. His journey from a migrant influencer to a detainee facing possible federal firearms charges highlights the pivotal role of social media in shaping public perceptions and the law’s indomitable reach. As Moreno awaits his fate, his case serves as a stark reminder of the legal responsibilities that accompany social media platforms and public figures alike.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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