A man who shot live video Tuesday outside a Lee County business that had just been raided by immigration officials has been charged with threatening sheriff’s deputies.
Christian Enrique Canales, 27, of Sanford was taken into custody Wednesday and released on bail. He was charged with communicating threats to law enforcement officers and driving with a revoked license, Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter said in statement on Facebook.
Now some immigration advocates are questioning whether Canales was arrested “in retaliation” for bringing attention to the raid at Bear Creek Arsenal.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 27 people Tuesday at the business on McNeill Road in Sanford. An ICE spokeswoman said 25 people face criminal charges and two face civil immigration violations.
Court records show at least some of the people are accused of using fake Social Security numbers to obtain employment.
Canales, who works nearby, said a friend was detained by ICE agents at Bear Creek Arsenal, The News & Observer previously reported. He said he went to the facility that morning to see what was happening.
In a Facebook Live video posted around 9 a.m. Tuesday, Canales can be heard interacting with law enforcement. At one point during the roughly 8-minute video, a man can be heard using expletives to tell people they need bullet-proof vests.
It’s not clear from the video who the man was addressing.
Lee County sheriff’s deputies were assisting ICE with the operation Tuesday, Carter said on Facebook.
In Carter’s social media post about Canales being arrested, many people responded by praising the sheriff’s office and their work.
But the advocacy group Alerta Migratoria NC in a social media post Wednesday afternoon called on the sheriff’s office to drop the charges against Canales.
“Christian has taken an active role advocating for the immigrants arrested and has publicly spoken to reporters about the raids that took place in Sanford,” the group said. “His arrest occurred as he gathered others together to plan support for the families of the arrested individuals. Sheriff Carter is acting in retaliation.“
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.