Illegal Immigrant TikTok Influencer Leonel Moreno Captured By ICE

Leonel Moreno, the illegal immigrant who became famous after making TikTok videos showing his fellow Venezuelans how to “seize” people’s homes and score free government handouts, has been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“Leonel Moreno is an unlawfully present citizen of Venezuela, who illegally entered the country April 23, 2022,” ICE said in a statement. “Moreno was placed into the ATD [Alternatives to Detention] program by Border Patrol and was told to report to Enforcement and Removal Operations office within 60 days of arriving at his destination.”

“Moreno did not report as required,” the statement continued. “On March 29, 2024, Moreno was arrested in Gahanna, Ohio by officers with ERO Detroit’s Columbus office and is currently detained pending further immigration proceedings.”

Moreno went viral for his videos showing other illegal immigrants how to take advantage of government handouts. In one video, he flashes a social security card and brags about how he, his wife and their daughter receive $350 a week from the government.

Using his toddler daughter as a prop, he admitted to standing outside begging for money and bragged in another video how he made $1,000 a day being a TikTok influencer.

He recently gained attention when he encouraged illegal immigrants to “seize” unoccupied houses, telling his audience that he had “African friends” who had already taken over seven houses. He also told them that once they inhabited a house, they could use squatters’ rights to stay.

The influencer also bragged about how he might go into the business of “squatting in abandoned houses.”

To add insult to injury, Moreno also mocked both Americans and other illegal immigrants who work for a living.

“You’re hurt because I make more than you without much work while you work like slaves, understand?” he said in a video. “That’s the difference between you and me. I’m always going to make lots of money without much work, and you’re always going to be exploited and miserable and insignificant.”

Due to his squatters’ rights video, TikTok took down Moreno’s account, stating that his criminal activities violated the platform’s policy; he had 500,000 followers. His Instagram account was still active but only had 17,000 followers.

A few days before his capture, Moreno posted a video of him from a new account, crying that he was a victim and being persecuted by the government. He also accused his fellow Venezuelans of reporting him.

According to ICE, he was detained “pending further immigration proceedings.” Since the relationship between the U.S. and Venezuela isn’t the best, it is unclear if Moreno will be deported or continue to be held in ICE custody.