ICE Arrests Gay Va. Man after Traffic Stop
by Michael K. Lavers, Washington Blade
A gay man in Virginia says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested his partner last month after they pulled over his car.
Luis Valladares Cruz’s partner, Josh Ayala, told the Washington Blade last week during a telephone interview that they left their home in Woodbridge early on Aug. 13 to go to
Starbucks. Ayala said he and Valladares left their neighborhood and then saw “flashing lights behind us” once they drove onto Old Bridge Road.
“We pulled to the side (of the road),” Ayala told the Blade.
Ayala said he and Valladares assumed it was a “routine police stop.”
“I really thought they were just police,” said Ayala. “We pulled off to the side (of the road.) It happened so quick, I didn’t even see when they got out.”
Ayala said four men who did not identify themselves as ICE agents surrounded the car.
Ayala conceded to the Blade the car’s license plates had expired, but he said he explained to the agents that he had gone to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles two days earlier to renew them. Ayala told the Blade he then showed them his registration and asked why they had stopped him.
“We’re stopping you because your vehicle matches the description of a vehicle affiliated with a crime in this area,” said one of the agents, according to Ayala.
Ayala said he and Valladares then gave the agents their IDs.
“Literally in three seconds he gives back mine, but with his identification when he shows it to them, that’s when they immediately are like, get out of the vehicle. We’re here for you,” Ayala told the Blade, referring to Valladares. “We have a warrant for your arrest, and I was in shock.”
Ayala told the Blade the same agents a year earlier stopped them and identified themselves as “undercover cops.” Ayala said he asked them why they were arresting Valladares and requested to see a warrant, but they did not show him.
A portion of the arrest that Ayala recorded on his cell phone shows Valladares standing behind the car with three masked agents.