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Queens Chronicle

Military-style vehicle startles Ridgewood

Arrest was for firearms suspect, not an immigration raid: report

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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:32 pm, Thu Nov 21, 2019.

Some Ridgewood residents became concerned when an armored personnel carrier operated by the Department of Homeland Security appeared on Forest Avenue near Norman Street last Wednesday morning.

Agents wearing Immigration and Customs Enforcement jackets triggered concern in the neighborhood that an immigration raid was taking place.

City Hall spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie told NY1, “This was a federal criminal investigation into a firearms suspect, not immigration enforcement. About 50 guns, including a machine gun, gun parts and ammunition were seized.”

A federal source told NY1 that the military-style vehicle, known as a BearCat, was being used by a Homeland Security Special Response Team to arrest the suspect. The source, speaking anonymously, said the “target has been taken into custody.”

The Ridgewood Tenants Union tweeted that “Our neighbors are scared & emotional.”

“This being a federal criminal investigation doesn’t change the fact that there was an armored military vehicle making our community feel unsafe,” the group said.

More than 80 illegal immigrants were arrested by ICE officers in New York over a five-day stretch in September. Queens is home to more unauthorized immigrants than any other borough, with about 246,000 of roughly 643,000 citywide, according to a 2015 study.

The City Council voted in favor of abolishing ICE in September 2018 in a symbolic move, despite not having any power to actually eliminate it.

When the RTU tweeted about the arrest on Nov. 6, it said, “If you have any information, please let us know and NEVER open your door to ICE.”

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