A Comprehensive Plan to Identify and Remove Criminal Aliens
November 19, 2008
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative agency in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is improving community safety by transforming the way the federal government cooperates with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, detain and remove all criminal aliens held in custody. Secure Communities: A Comprehensive Plan to Identify and Remove Criminal Aliens will change immigration enforcement by using technology to share information between law enforcement agencies and by applying risk-based methodologies to focus resources on assisting communities remove high-risk criminal aliens.
Although ICE has made considerable progress over the past several years in identifying and removing criminal aliens through its Criminal Alien Program (CAP), a fundamental change in ICE's current approach is required to reach the goal of identifying and removing all aliens convicted of a crime. ICE currently screens all inmates referred to ICE who claim to be foreign-born at all federal and state prisons. In addition, any law enforcement agency can query the immigration status of an individual they encounter through ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC). CAP officers routinely visit or are dispatched to local jails requesting assistance and have contributed to the increased success of identifying and removing criminal aliens in custody.
In FY 2008, ICE identified and charged more than 221,000 aliens in jails for immigration violations more than triple the number charged just two years ago. Leveraging integration technology that shares law enforcement data between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, ICE is now able to expand coverage nationwide in a cost effective manner. Interoperability between the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) and DHS' Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) will help ICE and local law enforcement officers positively identify criminal aliens in prisons and jails.
Given that a nationwide jail/prison reporting system does not exist to determine the total number of criminal aliens in the United States, ICE extrapolated from various sources and estimates that about 300,000 to 450,000 criminal aliens who are potentially removable are detained each year at federal, state, and local prisons and jails. Criminal aliens who are potentially removable include illegal aliens in the United States who are convicted of any crime and lawful permanent residents (such as holders of a U.S. Permanent Resident Card) who are convicted of a removable offense as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Strategic Goals for Secure Communities
ICE has delineated four key strategic goals for the Secure Communities plan:
- Strategic Goal 1 Identify and process all criminal aliens amenable for removal while in federal, state, and local custody;
- Strategic Goal 2 Enhance current detention strategies to ensure no removable alien is released into the community due to a lack of detention space or an appropriate alternative to detention;
- Strategic Goal 3 Implement removal initiatives that shorten the time aliens remain in ICE custody prior to removal, thereby maximizing the use of detention resources and reducing cost; and
- Strategic Goal 4 Maximize cost effectiveness and long-term success through deterrence and reduced
The following three levels are illustrative of the plan's risk-based approach. These levels will be used to allocate appropriate resources to identifying and determining the immigration status of aliens arrested for a crime that pose the greatest risk to the public.
- Level 1 Individuals who have been convicted of major drug offenses and violent offenses such as murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and kidnapping;
- Level 2 Individuals who have been convicted of minor drug offenses and mainly property offenses such as burglary, larceny, fraud, and money laundering; and
- Level 3 Individuals who have been convicted of other offenses.
Ensuring the identification and expedited removal of so many criminal aliens on an ongoing basis will require a sustained effort. The cornerstone of the plan is to increase state and local partnerships to ensure time sensitive screening of all foreign-born detainees and identification of criminal aliens. ICE is assessing technology solutions to seamlessly integrate local booking data so that ICE can determine eligibility for removal and quickly prioritize each case to initiate the appropriate level of response.
The plan brings together the expertise and commitment from all parts of ICE, the interagency community, and state and local law enforcement agencies. ICE's partners within DHS include U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) Program. ICE's federal interagency partners include the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), U.S. Attorneys, Department of State (DOS), Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), and FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS). Ongoing success will require enhancements to the nation's immigration strategy and providing even greater disincentives for recidivists.
Overview of ICE's Criminal Alien Program
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) established the Institutional Removal Program (IRP) in 1988 as a result of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. IRCA required the INS to initiate deportation proceedings for all criminal aliens, at federal, state, and local prisons as expeditiously as possible after the date of conviction. At the INS, the Office of Investigations (OI) and Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) jointly managed the IRP, which covered about 30 federal institutions and a limited number of state institutions. INS/OI also had responsibility for the Alien Criminal Apprehension Program (ACAP). The ACAP was responsible for the identification, processing, prosecution, and removal of all criminal aliens in institutions not participating in the IRP.
When ICE was established in 2003, the agency recognized that additional effort and resources were needed to address the criminal alien problem at federal, state, and local jails and prisons. In June 2007, DRO assumed complete responsibility and oversight of both IRP and ACAP and combined both programs into the Criminal Alien Program (CAP). ICE adopted a risk-based approach to address the criminal alien population in U.S. jails and prisons and deployed CAP teams to institutions whose inmates posed the greatest threat to the community if released. CAP began utilizing video teleconference (VTC) equipment to expand its reach into more jails and prisons. In June 2006, DRO formed the Detention Enforcement and Processing Offenders by Remote Technology (DEPORT) Center in Chicago, IL. Today the DEPORT Center screens and processes criminal aliens at 87 BOP facilities. CAP also works closely with the United States Attorney's Office to prosecute aggressively criminal aliens who have reentered the United States after having been previously removed thereby creating a deterrent to illegal reentry by previously removed criminal aliens.
CAP teams focus on identifying, detaining, and removing criminal aliens and in FY 2008 the teams issued charging documents on more than 221,000 removable aliens in federal, state, and local custody. Many of these aliens are still serving sentences. In FY 2008, ICE removed 350,000 aliens, nearly 110,000 with criminal histories. In FY 2007, ICE removed approximately 278,000 aliens, about 95,000 with criminal histories.
In order to ensure that current CAP resources are deployed effectively, ICE conducted a risk assessment of federal, state, and local prisons and jails. The risk assessment provides valuable information for determining which facilities house the most removable aliens and which represent institutions of highest risk. The assessment classified all facilities into four tiers, with Tier 1 representing the highest risk to national security and public safety and Tier 4 representing the lowest risk. In rank order, ICE is moving toward 100 percent screening of foreign-born individuals in each facility. Currently, all Tier 1 and Tier 2 facilities have 100 percent screening, including all BOP institutions and state prisons. In order to achieve screening at all remaining facilities, an infusion of new partnerships, technology, process improvements, and resources will be necessary.
To address the high-risk BOP correctional institutions, ICE established the DEPORT Center in Chicago. DEPORT supports the screening, interviewing and removal processing of all criminal aliens incarcerated in BOP facilities nationwide, often using video teleconferencing. Since its inception, DEPORT has screened over 33,000 cases, issued more than 17,000 charging documents to begin removal proceedings, and lodged more than 11,000 detainers. The success of DEPORT is a combination of shared databases including BOP Sentry - a real-time computer system updated 24 hours a day by BOP staff in field offices. Staffers enter and update inmate information from the time the inmate is sentenced until he/she is released from federal custody.
Resource Overview for Secure Communities
The total costs estimated to remove all Level 1, 2, and 3 convicted criminal aliens each year in all federal, state, and local prisons ranges from roughly $2 billion to $3 billion. This cost range assumes that aliens incarcerated in local jails have an average length of time in custody of three to six months. The costs are high level estimates that will be revised regularly as the plan is implemented based on detailed business requirements, inputs from ICE partners, and updates to criminal alien population figures. ICE estimates that it may take up to two years to develop an automated process to search and prioritize leads from Interoperability based on the levels of criminality. Until such time, ICE will develop strategies for implementing the gradual rollout of Interoperability using a more manual searching process. Cost estimates therefore will need to be modified as implementation begins, and resources may need to shift to fill the gap between start-up and full implementation.
Level One Implementation
ICE plans to phase-in the implementation of this initiative, starting with Level 1 criminal aliens. The total Level 1 costs, including systems and infrastructure, are estimated to be between approximately $930 million and $1.1 billion. ICE anticipates an implementation timeline of 3.5 years to remove all removable Level 1 criminal aliens to ensure program efficiency and effectiveness. Congress provided $200 million in the FY 2008 Appropriations bill to begin implementing this plan and an addition $150 million for FY's 2009 and 2010.
Identifying criminal aliens in the past
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) established the Institutional Removal Program (IRP) in 1988, which only covered approximately 30 federal institutions and a limited number of state facilities. INS also had responsibility for the Alien Criminal Apprehension Program (ACAP). Under ACAP, INS officers were responsible for identifying, processing, prosecuting, and removing criminal aliens in institutions not participating in the IRP.
In FY2003, there were only two signed 287(g) agreements to train and authorize local officers to enforce immigration law.
The way it works now
In June 2006, ICE formed the Detention Enforcement and Processing Offenders by Remote Technology (DEPORT) Center in Chicago. Today ICE screens and processes criminal aliens at all Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities. In addition, ICE began using video teleconference (VTC) equipment to expand its reach into more jails and prisons.
Criminal Alien Program (CAP) teams respond to local law enforcement agencies' requests to determine the alienage of individuals arrested for crimes and other immigration violators as resources permit. Under CAP, ICE identified and issued charging documents on more than 221,000 incarcerated criminal aliens in FY 2008. CAP teams identified more than 164,000 incarcerated criminal aliens in FY 2007 and 67,000 in FY 2006.
ICE conducts screenings of all inmates who claim to be foreign-born at all federal and state prisons. In addition, any law enforcement agency can query the immigration status of an individual they encounter through ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC). CAP officers routinely visit or are dispatched to local jails requesting assistance and have contributed to the increased success of identifying and removing criminal aliens in custody.
ICE 287(g) program has provided more than 40 local law enforcement agencies with access to DHS databases at their detention centers where trained officers can review the immigration information, determine alienage, and initiate removal proceedings. There are a total of 67 jail, task force, or combined 287(g) agreements nationwide credited for identifying more than 75,000 individuals for possible immigration violations. Most local law enforcement agencies notify ICE of a foreign-born detainee; then an ICE officer must conduct an interview to determine the alienage of the suspect and initiate removal proceedings, if appropriate.
Key Enhancements in Secure Communities
- ICE will continue working with its partners to distribute integration technology that links local law enforcement agencies to both FBI and DHS biometric databases.
- Currently, as part of the routine booking process, local officers submit an arrested person's fingerprints through FBI databases to access that individual's criminal history. With interoperability, those fingerprints are also automatically checked against DHS databases to access immigration history information.
- The automated process notifies ICE when fingerprints match those of an immigration violator. ICE officers conduct follow-up interviews and take appropriate action.
- ICE will identify removable criminal aliens and prioritize their removal based on the threat they pose to the community.
- ICE will continue working with local, state and federal detention centers and the Department of Justice Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) to increase the number of facilities that use video teleconferencing technology.
- Working with ICE, U.S. Attorney's Offices will seek to prosecute more criminal aliens who illegally re-enter the country. This initiative is aimed at deterring recidivism.
- ICE will streamline processes for Detention and Removal Operations including the expanded use of the Alternatives to Detention Program (ATD) and by more efficiently obtaining removal orders and travel documents before criminal aliens are released from local custody.
- ICE will continue and expand the use of its Rapid REPAT (Removal of Eligible Parolees Accepted for Transfer) program whereby criminal aliens serving state sentences receive early parole in exchange for assisting in their removal from the United States. The programs are restricted to criminal aliens who have not been convicted of serious felonies and who have no history of violence. The program has proven successful in New York and Arizona thus far and ICE seeks to establish Rapid REPAT programs in four additional states by the end of FY 2008.
- ICE will provide 24/7 nationwide operational coverage for the Criminal Alien Program by assigning additional personnel in field offices, standing up command centers in priority areas, and expanding use of video teleconferencing to remotely interview and process suspected aliens.
- ICE will seek to increase local law enforcement partnerships through 287(g) cross-designation that allows trained officers to interview and initiate removal proceedings of aliens processed through their detention facilities.
Search ICE.gov for pages related to Secure Communities
Search ICE.gov for news releases related to Secure Communities
About ICE membership in the Virtual Global Taskforce
The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) is made up of law enforcement agencies from around the world working together to fight child abuse online. The aim of the VGT is to build an effective, international partnership of law enforcement agencies that helps to protect children from online child abuse.
The objectives of the VGT are:
- to make the Internet a safer place;
- to identify, locate and help children at risk; and
- to hold perpetrators appropriately to account.
The VGT is made up of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the UK, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the US Department of Homeland Security, Italian Postal and Communication Police Service, and Interpol.
Resources and reporting information are available at www.virtualglobaltaskforce.com.
Operation Community Shield
Targeting Violent Transnational Street Gangs
In February 2005, ICE began Operation Community Shield, a national law enforcement initiative that targets violent transnational street gangs through the use of ICE's broad law enforcement powers, including the unique and powerful authority to remove (deport) criminal aliens, including illegal aliens and legal permanent resident aliens.
Under Operation Community Shield, ICE:
- Partners with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, in the United States and abroad, to develop a comprehensive and integrated approach in conducting criminal investigations and other law enforcement operations against violent street gangs and others who pose a threat to public safety.
- Identifies violent street gangs and develops intelligence on their membership, associates, criminal activities and international movements.
- Deters, disrupts and dismantles gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from criminal activities.
- Seeks prosecution and/or removal of alien gang members from the United States .
- Works closely with our attaché offices throughout Latin America and foreign law enforcement counterparts in gathering intelligence, sharing information and conducting coordinated enforcement operations.
- Conducts outreach efforts to increase public awareness about the fight against violent street gangs.
Initially, the focus of ICE's efforts were directed toward the Mara Salvatrucha organization, commonly referred to as MS-13, one of the most violent and rapidly growing transnational street gangs. In May 2005, ICE expanded Operation Community Shield to include all transnational criminal street gangs and prison gangs.
Since inception, ICE agents across 100 field offices, working in conjunction with hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide, have arrested a total of 7,655 street gang members and associates, representing over 700 different gangs.
These apprehensions include 2,444 criminal arrests and 5,211 administrative immigration arrests. One hundred-seven of those arrested were gang leaders. More than 2,555 of the arrested suspects had violent criminal histories. Through this initiative, ICE has also seized and removed from the streets 287 firearms.
In all, Operation Community Shield arrests are up 533 percent since fiscal year 2005 and 134 percent over fiscal year 2006.
Major Enforcement Actions:
September 24, 2007 (Twin Cities metropolitan area and Albany , Willmar and Worthington , Minn. ): 34 aliens with ties to violent street gangs were arrested during a weeklong operation. All those arrested were targeted for their affiliations with violent street gangs such as SureÃ±o-13, Vatos Locos, Rough Tough Somali Crips, and the Mexican Mafia, among others. Five of those apprehended were arrested on state criminal charges. Thirty of those arrested are illegal aliens and four are U.S. permanent residents whose previous criminal convictions render them eligible for deportation. Nine of the illegal aliens have been presented to the U.S. Attorney's Office for federal prosecution for re-entering the United States after having already been deported, which is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. ICE will process the remainder for deportation. Those arrested during this operation are from Mexico , Nicaragua , El Salvador and Somalia .
September 2, 2007 ( Oklahoma City ): 65 people were arrested during a seven-day local enforcement action targeting violent street gang members. Those arrested include members of the following Oklahoma City street gangs: Barrio Gran Mexicanos, Gran Barrio Central, Juarito Sureno 14, LA 36, Los Centrales, Murdertown, South Side Locos and Sureno 13. Those arrested originate from the following countries: Costa Rica , El Salvador , Honduras , Iraq and Mexico . Three U.S. citizens were also arrested during this operation by local law enforcement agencies. Forty-two of those arrested are known members of local street gangs; 15 had active warrants for their arrest, or were arrested on state charges. Three aliens who did not have previous criminal convictions have already been voluntarily returned to Mexico . Some of the crimes associated with those arrested during this local operation include: 1st degree rape, burglary, drug trafficking and various drug-related convictions, sexual battery, lewd acts with a child, assaulting a police office, harboring a fugitive, intentionally discharging a firearm, and illegally possessing a firearm.
August 30, 2007 ( Chelsea , East Boston, Everett , Lynn , Revere and Somerville , Mass. ): 36 violent street gang members and associates were arrested during a three-day long operation. Those arrested are members and associates of the violent street gang Mara-Salvatrucha (MS-13). They come from El Salvador , Colombia , Guatemala , Honduras and Nicaragua . Of the 36 arrested, 27 entered the United States without inspection, 4 are Lawful Permanent Residents with criminal convictions that make them subject to removal from the U.S, 2 have re-entered the United States after having been deported, 2 individuals have final orders of removal from an immigration judge, and one individual was arrested on a state warrant. In addition to the arrests, the action has resulted in the seizure of a variety of machetes, knives, switchblades and a small quantity of cocaine. The criminal records of those arrested include murder, assault and battery with a deadly weapon and assault and battery domestic, assault and battery on a police officer, possession of a firearm, armed robbery, armed assault, possession of cocaine and marijuana, breaking and entering at night with intent to commit a felony, larceny and possession burglary tools and malicious destruction of property.
August 21, 2007 (northern and northwest Chicago suburbs, including Waukegan , Mundelein and Round Lake ): 58 Mexican nationals with ties to violent street gangs were arrested. They are affiliated with violent street gangs such as the Latin Kings, Sureno-13s, and the Latin Lovers. Of those arrested, 37 are illegal aliens and 21 are U.S. permanent residents whose previous criminal convictions render them eligible for deportation. Some of the crimes associated with the gang members arrested include aggravated battery, possessing a controlled substance, armed violence, possessing a firearm, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, drunken driving, mob action and burglary.
August 22, 2007 ( San Diego north county communities of Vista, Oceanside , Escondido and San Marcos ): 60 foreign nationals from Mexico with ties to violent street gangs were arrested during a two week operation.
July 22, 2007 ( Arlington , Dallas , Farmers Branch, Fort Worth , Irving and Wichita Falls , Texas ): 121 violent street gang members were arrested during a seven-day enforcement action. Included were members of 27 local street gangs: 18th St., 28th St., Asian Boyz, Brown Pride, Diamond Hill, Eastside Homeboys, Eastside Locos, FTH, Fort Worth 28 Pride, How High Crew, Junior Homeboyz, Latin Kings, Love Field Players, Mexican Klan Locos, Mexican Mafia, MS-13, Neighborhood Crips, Northside Friends, Northside Locos, Puro Loco Mexicanos, Puro Tango Blast, Riverside 13, Sureno 13, True Bud Smokers, Valgos 18, Varrio Northside and Westside 12. Some of the crimes associated with the gang members arrested include; murder, sexually assaulting a child, robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated robbery, possessing a controlled substance, manufacturing a controlled substance, unlawfully carrying a weapon, engaging in organized criminal activity, burglary of a building, evading arrest, and resisting arrest.
June 6, 2007 ( Anaheim , Long Beach , Los Angeles , Palmdale, Pasadena , San Fernando , Santa Ana , Signal Hill and Ventura , Calif. ): Six foreign nationals with ties to violent street gangs in the Southland were arrested during the week in an operation that resulted in the arrest of 124 gang members over a three month period. 36 were arrested on criminal charges and 88 on administrative immigration violations. Some of the gangs involved included; MS-13, White Fence, the 18th Street Gang, the Black P-Stones, the Eastside Longos, the Villa Boys, and Los Primos.
May 24, 2007 (Guttenberg, Paterson , Union City and West New York, N. J.): An enforcement operation shut down a criminal enterprise run by members of the Latin Kings international gang in northern Hudson County . Tito Lopez, a.k.a. "King Chino," an allegedly high-ranking Latin Kings gang member and leader of the drug distribution organization was arrested. He is allegedly responsible for leading fellow gang members to a host of criminal actions including drug distribution, burglaries, witness intimidation, assaults and weapon sales. In all, the operation netted five federal, 12 state and two ICE administrative arrests. Additionally, 340 grams of cocaine and over one pound of marijuana were seized.
March 27, 2007 (Guayama, Puerto Rico ): 36 suspected members of a major violent street gang were arrested, stemming from a long-term federal investigation that targeted a Guayama-based street gang known as the Killer Bees. The investigation revealed that the Killer Bees controlled the drug and gun trafficking operations within several public housing projects and other low-income areas. The Killer Bees were also allegedly responsible for the distribution of narcotics and illegal weapons within the public housing projects as well as for laundering the proceeds generated from the illicit activity.
March 9, 2006 (23 states): During a two-week enforcement action, ICE arrested 375 gang members and associates in 23 states in a joint effort with law enforcement agencies nationwide. Large numbers of gang members were arrested in Dallas (44), San Diego (41), Washington , D.C. (22), Miami (22), and Raleigh , N.C. (19). Those arrested included members of MS-13, Surenos, 18th Street Gang, Latin Kings, Bloods, Crips, Armenian Power, Street Thug Criminals, Brown Pride, Asian Dragon Family, Avenue Assassins, Spanish Gangster Disciples, Big Time Killers and Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos. More than 260 of the 375 individuals arrested have past criminal records, most of them violent.
July 28, 2005 (nationwide): ICE arrested 582 street gang members and associates during a two-week, nationwide enforcement action. More than 54 violent street gangs were targeted, including Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Sureños, 18th Street Gang, Latin Kings, Vatos Locos, Mexican Mafia, La Raza gang, Border Brothers, Brown Pride, Norteno, Florencia 13, Tiny Rascal, Asian Boyz and Jamaican Posse.
March 14, 2005 ( Baltimore , Dallas , Los Angeles , Miami , Newark , New York and Washington , D.C. ): ICE arrested 103 members of the violent street gang Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) in seven cities as part of the new anti-gang initiative called Operation Community Shield.
Intelligence Gathering and Sharing
Under Operation Community Shield, ICE has received thousands of names of known and suspected gang members from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as from foreign governments. This information is routinely compared with ICE's immigration and customs databases to identify and prioritize gang suspects who may be subject to ICE's legal jurisdiction.
ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) in Vermont plays a central role in this effort by running data on gang suspects provided by other law enforcement agencies against its immigration databases to determine whether these individuals are subject to ICE's federal immigration authorities. This data is then shared with ICE field offices and law enforcement partners to compile target lists.
Last Modified: Friday, February 20, 2009
First federal government prosecution using Patriot Act to charge U.S. citizens
of bulk cash smuggling crimes discovered abroad and committed in the U.S.
May 5, 2009
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - This morning, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents arrested two United States citizens who collectively smuggled bulk cash in excess of $400,000 to the Dominican Republic and who are the first to be charged in the United States for committing bulk cash crimes identified abroad and committed in the United States. Today's arrests were announced by Rosa E. Rodriguez-Velez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico and Roberto Escobar-Vargas, acting Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) of the ICE Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico.
Francisco Javier Molina-Garcia, 20, and Hector Samuel Rodriguez-Padron, 21, both United States citizens, left San Juan on April 11, 2007, aboard a ferry headed to the Dominican Republic concealing bulk cash in boxes of detergent.
The concealed monies were discovered and seized by Dominican Republic (DR) customs authorities. The San Juan ICE Office of Investigations and the ICE Attaché Office in the Dominican Republic closely coordinated with DR customs authorities and agreed that the prosecution of the case would be handled in the United States.
This indictment represents the first federal government prosecution using the Patriot Act to charge U.S. citizens for crimes identified abroad and committed in the United States.
It is alleged that Molina-Garcia failed to declare $296,123 upon departing the United States and upon arriving in the Dominican Republic; while Rodriguez-Padron failed to declare $129,998.
Both were indicted by a federal grand jury on April 24, 2009, and face bulk cash smuggling charges in violation of Title 31, United States Code, Section 5332. If convicted, each could face a maximum of five years in prison.
"This prosecution is the result of the collaboration between federal law enforcement agencies and authorities in the Dominican Republic. We will continue working with law enforcement agencies in the Dominican Republic to address the illegal contraband of currency and monetary instruments," said U.S. Attorney Rodriguez-Velez.
"Criminals who think that they can escape the reach of the law are mistaken," said acting SAC Escobar-Vargas. "These unprecedented indictments speak to the level of cooperation between our international law enforcement partners in fighting crime. We commend the government of the Dominican Republic for their discovery and continued support."
Both defendants are presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.