Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis released a statement Tuesday touting his state’s record in assisting Texas immigration authorities, including with more than 190 arrests, a day after Texas law enforcement officials recommended criminal charges over migrant flights arranged by the governor.
On Monday, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office recommended a criminal case with the local district attorney overin September 2022. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has alleged unlawful restraint was involved in the migrant flights. Officials have said they are looking into how from the Migrant Resource Center, located in Bexar County, TX, and flown to Florida, where they were ultimately left to fend for themselves in Martha’s Vineyard, MA.”
On Tuesday, DeSantis released a statement saying that “Florida teams have made contact with more than 5,800 undocumented migrants and assisted the Texas Department of Public Safety with more than 190 arrests including felony charges for human smuggling, drug paraphernalia, unlawful carrying of weapons, and a suspect with a capital murder warrant.”
The statement appeared to be a response to the announcement from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
Forty nineto Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts in September 2022, with some of them saying that they suffered emotional trauma as a result. At the time, DeSantis’s communications director said the flights were part of an effort to “transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.”
DeSantis, a presidential candidate and fierce critic President Biden’s immigration policy, in May signed a bill allocating.
Under Texas law, someone can be charged with unlawful restraint if they “restrict a person’s movements without consent, so as to interfere substantially with the person’s liberty, by moving the person from one place to another or by confining the person.” Restraint is considered to be without consent if it’s accomplished by force, intimidation or deception.
It’s not yet clear whether Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Joe D. Gonzales will pursue the charges or who they would be filed against, but he said his office was reviewing the case thoroughly.
“If a review of the facts reveal that a felony offense has been committed, we will present that case to a grand jury for their deliberation,” Gonzales said.
Officials in California are also looking into possible criminal charges after twolanded in Sacramento in recent days, one on Friday and a second on Monday.
In both cases, a spokesperson for California Attorney General Rob Bonta said the migrants carried “documents indicating that their transportation to California involved the state of Florida.” After the first flight landed in Sacramento, Bonta said his office was looking intoagainst those who transported the migrants or arranged for the transportation. Bonta said evidence is being collected. He referred to the flights as “state-sanctioned kidnapping.”
CBS News has reached out to DeSantis regarding the Bexar County and California cases. He was sued over the Martha’s Vineyard incident, but a federal judge dismissed the case.