Arizona gang member arrested in Anna Maria

A reputed Phoenix gang member was arrested last week in Anna Maria by Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matt Kiernan of the MCSO-AM substation for three warrants out of Arizona after a routine traffic stop led to discovery of the warrants.

MCSO Sgt. Dave Turner, who heads the substation, said Juan Carlos Rafael-Hernandez, 32, is wanted in Arizona for human trafficking, money laundering and possession of narcotics.

Hernandez was stopped by Kiernan around 4 p.m. April 11 in the 9200 block of Gulf Drive for driving an overloaded vehicle.

Turner said that when Kiernan ran the man’s name and fingerprint through a law enforcement computer, it returned three outstanding warrants in Phoenix (Maricopa County), along with information that Hernandez is a known gang member and an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

Kiernan then arrested Hernandez, who did not have a Florida driver’s license, and took him to the Manatee County jail, where he was booked pending notification of Arizona law enforcement officials.

Turner said Hernandez would be extradited to Arizona, and would not be granted bail while in Manatee County custody.

Kiernan said in his report that at the time of the arrest, Hernandez said he was working for a construction company on Anna Maria Island. The company was not identified in the MCSO report.

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