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Venezuelan ‘migrant influencer’ complains from jail he’s victim of persecution

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Venezuelan ‘migrant influencer’ complains from jail he’s victim of persecution

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The Venezuelan “migrant influencer” who illegally entered the U.S. and encouraged other migrants to squat and take over Americans’ homes is now complaining from behind bars that he’s the victim of persecution and misses his freedom. 

Leonel Moreno, 27, spoke to The New York Post during a 30-minute televisit from inside Geauga County Jail in Chardon, Ohio earlier this week. He was arrested near Columbus, Ohio late last month after failing to appear for required check-ins with officers. 

Moreno whined to The Post that he came to the U.S. because of “persecution in my country,” but he’s supposedly facing the same treatment now. 

“It’s all misinformation in the media about me. They’re defaming me. They’re misrepresenting me in the news,” Moreno said, insisting he was a good father, husband, and son. “I miss my entire life – I miss my freedom!” 

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Moreno showing off cash and guns on Instagram

Leonel Moreno complained to The Post that he misses his freedom after he was arrested and jailed in Ohio. (@Leitooficial_26/Instagram)

Moreno reportedly crossed into the U.S. illegally in 2022. He received border parole in April 2022 as part of the government’s Alternatives to Detention program, which is supposed to track catch-and-release migrants when there is not enough room to detain them. 

Federal documents reviewed by The Post now suggest he may be facing federal firearm charges as well. 

Leonel Moreno speaks to his followers

Leonel Moreno speaks to his followers in a combination of still images taken from video. (@Leitooficial_26/Instagram)

Moreno made headlines last month for his inflammatory TikTok videos in which he bragged about not having to work and mocked fellow migrants who come to the U.S. to work hard manual jobs. 

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“I didn’t cross the Rio Grande to work like a slave,” he said in Spanish in one of his videos. “I came to the U.S. to mark my territory.”

His TikTok account, which had racked up more than 500,000 followers, was banned last week but his Instagram account, with just under 19,000 followers, appeared to still be active as of Sunday. 

TikToker urges migrants to take over abandoned homes using squatters rights

Venezuelan TikToker Leonel Moreno urged illegal immigrants to take over abandoned homes and invoke squatters’ rights.  (TikTok/Screenshot/Leonel Moreno)

In one post, he acknowledges that they closed his TikTok account, but he vowed to keep earning money on Facebook and on Instagram. 

He had previously told his audience he planned to make a business out of “invading” abandoned houses and taking them over with squatters’ rights laws, then selling them for a profit. 

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In his Post interview, Moreno insisted that the person on his social media posts was just a “character” and shouldn’t be conflated with his normal self.

“I have a sarcastic, dark humor. That’s my job,” he said. “Leonel Moreno is the opposite.” 

Fox News Digital’s Stepheny Price, Mike Ruiz, and Christina Coulter contributed to this report. 

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