A federal indictment has been handed up against 20 illegal immigrants in Memphis after they provided false documentation to obtain jobs.
We first told you about the arrests last month. Those arrested were hired by a staffing agency, and assigned to Expeditors International, a freight forwarder here in the bluff city.
The U.S. Attorney for western Tennessee says TSA inspectors noticed anomalies in security threat assessment paperwork provided by the staffing business. That is what lead to the start of this investigation.
As a result of the investigation, the 20 defendants are believed to have provided fraudulent documents over the course of a year.
On November 28th, The Tennessee Highway Patrol arrested the 20 employees who are from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala respectfully.
We’re learning both the TSA and Homeland Security conducted their own investigation, which led to the charges for the 20 individuals.
“As a result of those investigations, those 20 illegal aliens, defendants, are alleged to have presented fraudulent documents between November 2016 and November 2017 to certify their identity and eligibility to work here in this country,” said U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant.
Dunavant says those 20 defendants remain in custody, although it is unclear if they are all being held at 201 Poplar or other locations.
(U.S. Department of Justice Release)
D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced today that 20 individuals have been indicted for working under false identities.
On November 28, 2017, law enforcement arrested 20 illegal aliens working under false identities. A Memphis employment agency, Provide Staffing, assigned multiple employees to Expeditors International, a freight forwarder based in Memphis.
In the course of their regular duties, Transportation Security Administration inspectors in Memphis noticed anomalies in Security Threat Assessment paperwork submitted on behalf of Provide Staffing workers on contract to Expeditors International, and referred their findings to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
Tennessee Highway Patrol’s (THP) Criminal Investigative Division investigated and arrested these 20 individuals on state charges. ICE Homeland Security Investigations conducted a parallel investigation in coordination with TSA and other law enforcement agencies.
As a result of that investigation, the defendants are alleged to have presented fraudulent documents, between March 2016 and January 2017, to certify their identity and eligibility to work in the United States.
The Immigration and Reform Act of 1986, amended, and the Immigration and Nationality Act together require employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees using a prescribed form, Form I-9, and require that employees present documents to verify their identity and eligibility to work in the United States. Each defendant is charged with knowingly using a false identification document as evidence of his or her employment eligibility, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1546 (a) or Section 1546(b) (2).
United States Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: “In April, the Attorney General announced a renewed commitment by the Department of Justice to consistently and vigorously pursue criminal immigration enforcement, in order to disrupt organizations and deter unlawful conduct. This priority includes the aggressive prosecution of aggravated identity theft, document fraud, and misuse of visas and permits in the immigration context. These indictments fulfill that priority, protect critical infrastructure sites, and promote lawfulness in our immigration system.”
“Individuals that utilize fraudulent identification to obtain restricted access to our nation’s transportation network, whether air, sea, or rail, create a vulnerability to our national supply chain,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI’s efforts in Tennessee. “HSI will continue to partner with our federal and state law enforcement partners to protect our critical infrastructure from exploitation.”
The 20 defendants indicted on federal charges include:
Jamie Ramundo Martinez, a/k/a/ Angel Martinez, 36, Guatemala
Pedro Garcia-Guaneros, a/k/a/ Pedro Garcia, 34, Mexico
Oscar Tepole-Sanchez, a/k/a/ Oscar Tepole, 36, Mexico
Hilda Hernandez-Garduno, a/k/a/ Hilda Hernandez, 37, Mexico
Angel Calmo-Aguilar, a/k/a/ Angel Calmo, 24, Guatemala
Edgar Lopez-Marin, a/k/a/ Edgar Lopez, 37, Mexico
Fernando Ramos-Jacobo, a/k/a/ Fernando Ramos, 27, Mexico
Willivaldo Arenales-Soriano, a/k/a/ Wilibaldo Arenales, 35, Mexico
Fernando Alexi Duran-Reyes, a/k/a/ Eduardo Duran, 43, Honduras
Ramon Paz-Peredes, a/k/a/ Ramon Paz, 47, Honduras
Josue Vaca-Alvarodo, a/k/a/Pedro Cordero, 41, Honduras
Arturo Robles-Larios, 36, Mexico
Sixto Landaverde-Rodriguez, a/k/a/ Sixto Rodruguez, 42, Mexico
Rodolfo Hernandez-Sanchez, a/k/a/ Leonel Sanchez, 37, Mexico
Henry Calmo-Aguilar, a/k/a/ Henry Calmo, 22, Guatemala
Eligio Lopez-Acevedo, 34, Mexico
Artemio Moreno-Gordillo, a/k/a/ Artemio Moreno, 44, Mexico
Jose Moreno-Martinez, 25, Mexico
Marlon Martinez-Martinez, a/k/a/ Marlon Martinez, 36, Honduras
Raquel Delin-Ramos, a/k/a/ Raquel Delin, 32, Mexico
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum five years imprisonment; $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release to begin after incarceration.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
These cases were investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations, Transportation Security Administration and Tennessee Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Delery is prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.