From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that four Mexican nationals have been sentenced in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy that produced and sold thousands of false identification documents to illegal aliens.
Eriberto Moises Medina-Aranda, 40, of Rayville, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, to 10 years in federal prison without parole. Cesar Mujica-Aranda (Medina-Aranda’s half-brother), also known as “Oscar Gomez,” 25, a citizen of Mexico residing in Liberty, Mo., was sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole.
Bernardino Bautista-Hernandez, 33, also known as “Brujo,” a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison without parole. Ulises Montiel-Lazcano, also known as “Loco”, 35, a citizen of Mexico residing in Merriam, Kan., was sentenced to 11 months in federal prison without parole.
They must also forfeit to the government $403,700, which represents the total proceeds from the sale of counterfeit identification documents – criminal investigators estimate that the criminal enterprise manufactured and sold at least 7,122 fraudulent identification documents.
Each of the co-defendants pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy to produce false Social Security cards, false Lawful Permanent Resident cards and false driver’s licenses from various states within the United States as well as Mexican states between Sept. 1, 2013, and Feb. 21, 2014. Conspirators produced and sold thousands of false identification documents to illegal aliens so that the illegal aliens could stay and work within the United States. Conspirators sold the counterfeit identification documents for at least $100.
Medina-Aranda admitted that he oversaw the production and distribution of false identification documents. There were numerous street level dealers involved in the conspiracy. The street dealers would typically pay $50 for each counterfeit identification document sold and the street dealers would keep the excess proceeds they were able to obtain from the sale of the counterfeit documents.
Medina-Aranda also pleaded guilty to being an illegal alien in possession of firearms. Medina-Aranda admitted that in February 2014 he was in possession of a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic rifle, a Marlin rifle and ammunition, all of which were found in his residence by federal law enforcement agents. Medina-Aranda is illegally residing in the United States. His spouse, a citizen of the United States, purchased the Smith & Wesson semi-automatic rifle for him as a birthday gift at the Excelsior Springs, Mo., Wal-Mart store. His plea agreement contains a photograph of Medina-Aranda posing with the semi-automatic assault rifle next to a painting of Al Pacino in his “Scarface” role, who is holding a rifle in a similar pose.
Mujica-Aranda admitted that he managed the production of counterfeit identification documents at his Liberty apartment. He managed the production of the false identification documents and sold the documents to numerous street level dealers, such as Bautista-Hernandez and Montiel-Lazcano. Mujica-Aranda produced fraudulent Lawful Permanent Resident cards, counterfeit Social Security cards, and false driver’s licenses from various states within the United States as well as Mexican states.
On Jan. 30, 2014, Mujica-Aranda threw away a white plastic bag containing shredded pieces of fraudulent identity documents in a trash can at a gas station at St. John Avenue and Belmont in Kansas City, Mo. Early the next morning, a federal agent located the bag in the trash can. The bag contained shredded pieces of fraudulent identification documents, and weighed approximately two pounds. Each piece was approximately the size of a small paper clip, and the shredded pieces were immediately recognizable as fraudulent Lawful Permanent Resident cards, Social Security cards, Missouri non-driver’s licenses and Kansas identification cards. The agent also discovered two reels of depleted color card printer ribbon within the shredded pieces. One reel had images of fraudulent Lawful Permanent Resident cards.
Investigators secured a total of 16 reels of depleted color card printer ribbons weighing a total of 24 pounds, which were seized from a dumpster located at a gas station, a residence in Liberty, Mo., and a storage unit in Excelsior Springs, Mo. A United States Secret Service forensic testing lab evaluated these ribbons and was able to ascertain that the ribbons contained front and back images of 3,185 Lawful Permanent Resident cards.
Luis Daniel Cabrera-Guzman, also known as “Driver,” 30, a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, was sentenced on March 24, 2015, to two years in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty in a separate but related case to his role in the conspiracy. The court also ordered Cabrera-Guzman to forfeit $403,700 to the government, including $9,376 that was seized by law enforcement officers at the time of his arrest. According to court documents, Cabrera-Guzman has been illegally living in the United States periodically since 2001. He was deported in May 2009 and June 2009 and illegally reentered the country.
These cases were prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford. They were investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, the Kansas Department of Revenue – Office of Special Investigations, the Missouri Department of Revenue – Compliance Investigation Bureau and the Clay County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.