(Natural News) Four individuals were arrested for looting after Hurricane Ian wrecked Florida homes and communities. Three of the four are illegal aliens, according to Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.
Omar Mejia Ortiz, 33, Valerie Celeste Salcedo Mena, 26, Brandon Mauricio Araya and Steve Eduardo Sanchez Araya, both 20, were arrested on charges of burglary of an unoccupied structure during a state of emergency.
Ortiz was charged with petit larceny, while the other three were charged with grand larceny.
The group was arrested a day before the release of a video of five individuals sitting handcuffed for looting in a devastated section of Fort Myers. However, it was unclear if any of the four suspects charged were the same ones in the viral video.
Jail records indicate that the group was released from jail on Saturday after posting a $35,000 bond.
Officials of Lee County announced a curfew on Sept. 28 following reports of looting and other criminal activities in the wake of the hurricane, with Marceno addressing the problem at a news conference.
“I know we had a report of one incident where someone tried to loot into a gas station. I don’t know the details, but it’s infuriating and we’re not gonna allow it,” Marceno said at the time.
“We are a great law and order state. We need to access the people that need to be helped; their life and safety [are] most important. But my message is very clear to those who think they’re gonna loot. Go somewhere else, leave the state, don’t do that in here, not in Lee County.”
This was not the first time Marceno spoke to would-be looters as he previously warned that they “better think twice.”
“When I say zero tolerance, zero tolerance means we will hunt you down, track you down, and you’re going to jail. If you’re lucky,” he said. (Related: Looters run amok in Florida following Hurricane Ian devastation.)
On Sept. 30, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also warned potential looters targeting residents’ homes. “I can tell you in the state of Florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody’s home. And I would not want to chance that if I were you — given that we’re a Second Amendment state.”
He also noted that they are a law and order state and a law and order community. “Do not think you’re going to take advantage of people who’ve suffered misery.”
Death toll climbs, power stalls
Meanwhile, ABC News reported that the death toll in Florida from Hurricane Ian has now hit 121 statewide.
Lee County has the most deaths at 59, and recovery efforts are still underway particularly in areas around Fort Myers where a seven-foot storm surge caused devastation to homes and businesses. With five deaths reported in North Carolina, the nationwide death toll from the storm is at 126.
Danger remained post-hurricane. Two line workers were shocked while attempting to restore power to a neighborhood in New Smyrna Beach on Oct. 2.
One of the victims was rushed to a local hospital with severe burns to his face, back arm and hands. His partner suffered minor injuries and declined treatment.
DeSantis has prioritized the restoration of power in Florida, dispatching thousands of line workers across the state to work on the damaged infrastructure.
By Oct. 3, roughly 600,00 homes and businesses were still without electricity. Hard-hit areas where infrastructure had been completely wiped out may face up to a month without power, as per Lee County Electric Cooperative.
A spokesperson for the company also said that road bridges had collapsed, cutting off vehicle access to the island and forcing crew members to bring equipment by barge to get the power back up and running.
Visit PowerGrid.news for more updates about energy sources this summer.
Watch the video below for updates regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
This video is from the Martin Brodel channel on Brighteon.com.
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