Friends start GoFundMe page to help Charlotte teen detained by I - | WBTV Charlotte

Friends start GoFundMe page to help Charlotte teen detained by ICE

Gustavo “Gus” Zamudio, 18, is a Northwest School of the Arts senior who now faces deportation. He was arrested last month and accused of taking more than $2,900 from the Harris Teeter store in Myers Park where he worked (Go Fund Me) Gustavo “Gus” Zamudio, 18, is a Northwest School of the Arts senior who now faces deportation. He was arrested last month and accused of taking more than $2,900 from the Harris Teeter store in Myers Park where he worked (Go Fund Me)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) student is at an Immigration Detention Center in Georgia on the verge of deportation.

Eighteen-year-old Gustavo Zamudio was arrested February 25 on the charge of larceny by employee. Zamudio's lawyer, Carnell Johnson, said the teen is charged with stealing $2,900 from Harris Teeter and is requesting a bond hearing to address the charges to possibly free him.

"We will have a tremendous defense against the criminal charges," Johnson said.

After his arrest, Zamudio was released to Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) officials. Friends said he has been in the United States since he was 5 years old. His family came from Mexico and he has stayed here under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

"All I can think about is how terrified he must feel," friend Devyn Bauer said.

Johnson said under the Obama Administration, Zamudio would not have been a priority for deportation because people under DACA were protected. The lawyer now says under President Donald Trump's administration, there's no protection for people under DACA, even though they have been just charged with a crime and not convicted.

"When our current administration moved in - we all shared different concerns and fears that we had," Bauer said.

Zamudio's friends are now doing their part to help their classmate.

"I am speechless," friend Anna Butler said. "It's terrifying to have someone so close be in such a dangerous situation. We all care about him so much. We are scared for him. We are trying to do whatever we can to help him."

Friends have now set up a GoFund me page with a goal to raise $25,000.

"All proceeds will go to legal fees and to Gus and his family to help him out," Butler said.

Friends say Zamudio is a student at Northwest School of the Arts and is set to graduate in May. They believe what their friend is accused of doing is false.

"The charges I have seen being brought against him - I have seen no proof of," Bauer said. "He denies them and I don't believe it for a second."

Bauer said she talked to Zamudio Sunday night by phone. He told her he is worried if he has to go back to Mexico.

"He's not familiar with anything there," Bauer said. "He's lived here practically his whole life. Everything he knows and is familiar with is here."

Friends say they are not going to give up this fight to bring Zamudio back to Charlotte. 

"We love him and he deserves to be here," Butler said. "He is a part of our country and we are doing everything we can to help him out and we will be here every step of the way."

ICE Southern Region Spokesman Bryan Cox sent WBTV this statement about the teenager:

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) took Gustavo Zamudio-Aguilar, an unlawfully present Mexican national, into ICE custody Feb. 27 following his arrest by local law enforcement on a felony larceny charge in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.  ICE is focused on identifying, arresting and removing public safety threats, such as criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation's immigration laws."

ICE says a federal immigration judge will determine what's next for Zamudio, while the teen's lawyer and friends hope letters from teachers and others on behalf of Zamudio will help with the case. 

"It's not every day we get this kind of support, Johnson said. "This goes to his reputation. We hope it will make a difference."

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