Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Wednesday that an illegal immigrant allegedly broke into the campaign office of Democrat gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs last week, despite her seeming attempt to blame it on her Republican opponent Kari Lake.
According to local media, ICE said Daniel Mota Dos Reis, 36, of Portugal, who arrived in the United States as a registered student in 2018, was arrested last week for criminal trespassing and burglary charges.
Mota is “currently at-large for administrative immigration violations for failing to maintain his status as a registered student at an academic institution,” Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, a public affairs officer for ICE, told local media.
Witnesses said Mota was seen breaking into at least two different office suites.
According to local authorities, one of those offices was the campaign headquarters of Hobbs.
According to court records, Mota engaged in a confrontation with police on October 26. The suspect ran from the officers and pushed a 60-year-old female security guard before authorities arrested him. Later that evening, a patrol officer saw media reports of a campaign burglary that happened two nights before, where surveillance showed an image of Mota.
Mota was arrested again by Phoenix Police for the campaign headquarters burglary on the night of October 24.
Following the burglary, Hobbs insinuated that Lake or her “allies” had at least inspired a recent break-in at her campaign office.
Hobbs released a statement following the burglary — which allegedly took place at her campaign headquarters in Phoenix and was reported to local authorities last week — saying that she and her team were cooperating with law enforcement to get to the bottom of the incident.
She then suggested that Lake’s rhetoric had ratcheted up the temperature and may have pushed her allies in a violent direction.
“Secretary Hobbs and her staff have faced hundreds of death threats and threats of violence over the course of this campaign. Throughout this race, we have been clear that the safety of our staff and of the Secretary is our number one priority,” the campaign statement began, before pivoting to attack Lake.
“Let’s be clear: for nearly two years Kari Lake and her allies have been spreading dangerous misinformation and inciting threats against anyone they see fit. The threats against Arizonans attempting to exercise their constitutional rights and their attacks on elected officials are the direct result of a concerted campaign of lies and intimidation,” it continued.
Lake responded to the thinly-veiled accusation, telling CNN it was “absurd” and suggesting that the break-in may not have even happened as Hobbs’ campaign claimed. “Are you really buying that?” she asked, adding, “Because this sounds like a Jussie Smollett part 2.”
Remember when @katiehobbs accused me of orchestrating a Watergate-style break-in of her campaign office?
Well, it turns out it was a repeat-criminal here in our country illegally.
RETWEET THIS. People must know. pic.twitter.com/tf1k2UJRFZ
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) November 2, 2022
Phoenix Police confirmed Mota’s arrest last week, adding authorities found no evidence suggesting Mota’s attack on Hobbs’ campaign office was politically motivated, or the burglary was staged.
Mota has now violated the “terms of his admission” and is wanted by immigration authorities. However, local media suggest that it is unclear why Mota was not held by immigration authorities and released to the public.
Enforcement and Removal Operations, a division of ICE with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, told local media that Mota “came to ERO’s attention after his arrest by the Phoenix Police Department” on October 27 and was advised that Mota “had bonded out of Maricopa County Sheriff’s custody prior to a detainer being issued.”