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Californians protest deportation of woman found in apartment with 30 lbs of cocaine, $600k in cash

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Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

An Illegal immigrant in California is the subject of local anger and protests after it was discovered she now faces deportation for her involvement in a massive cocaine ring.

Dozens of people gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday to protest the apprehension and scheduled removal of 54-year-old Teresa Vidal-Jaime, who was swept from her home in a drug raid that turned up a whopping thirty pounds of cocaine, an ounce of crystal meth and $600,000 in cash.

Vidal-Jaime’s husband, Hugo Rueda, was arrested for drug possession, according to the US Border Patrol.

Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The LASD was alerted to the drug activity by the Border Patrol, who identified a vehicle potentially smuggling drugs across the border. Investigators followed the vehicle to the home, which gave probable cause for the search.

However, all was not silent on the Western front after Vidal-Jaime’s daughter, immigration activist Claudia Rueda, took to the street with about 70 community organizers to protest what she felt was an unlawful raid that swept up an innocent woman.

Her mother didn’t have anything to do with this,” said community organizer Marcela Hernandez. Vidal-Jaime “didn’t know anything about anything in the apartment. She let them in.”

The Sheriff’s Department claims that investigators detained her at the scene but released her due to doubts of involvement narcotics probe. During her detainment, she was reportedly never asked about her immigration status.

The Border Patrol, however, took things a step further, reporting in a statement that agents took custody of Vidal-Jaime because she was living in the country illegally since 2001.

Claudia Rueda and Hernandez both believe the Border Patrol targeted Vidal-Jaime due to Rueda’s occupation as an activist.

“We think it is retaliation against her mother for her daughter’s activism,” Hernandez told the LA TImes.

According to a statement issued by the Immigrant Youth Coalition, Claudia Rueda said she was attending college classes the day she received the news about the raid and quickly returned home.

“Despite being told she would not be detained as long she cooperated, my mother was apprehended during an illegally conducted raid at my apartment,” Rueda said.

“I know my mother is innocent, and both [the Sheriff’s Department and Border Patrol] know that, which is why they were supposed to let her go.”

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