San Juan, Puerto Rico - Two citizens of Brazil were arrested this weekend by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers after attempting to enter illegally into the United States, using fraudulent passports.
The defendants, Alcione Aparecida De Carvalho, 25, and Athiel Pereira De Andrade, 28, made an initial appearance today before US Magistrate Judge Camille Velez-Rive, facing charges for violation to Title 18 United States Code, Section 1543, for fraudulent use of a passport.
Both defendants arrived Friday, April 1, at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport on board a COPA airlines flight from Panama City, Panama. They requested admission under the Visa Waiver Program.
In support of their application, they presented to CBP officers for inspection two Portuguese passports, claiming to be the rightful owners of the documents.
They were referred to secondary examination for further inspection.
Through examination of the Portuguese passports, it was revealed that the documents were counterfeit.
During the interview both defendants admitted that they were not the rightful owners of the documents and that they received them by mail.
CBP Enforcement officers presented the case for prosecution to the Immigration Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Juan.
"Every day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are vigilantly seeking individuals who try different means to reach the U.S. and circumvent detection," said Marcelino Borges, director of field operations for CBP in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. "CBP officers are trained to detect counterfeit and/or fraudulent documents and continually use their skills to deter illegal immigration".
Special Assistant United States Attorney Russell Booker III is in charge of the prosecution of this case.
If convicted, defendants Alcione Aparecida De Carvalho and Athiel Pereira De Andrade face a fine or a sentence of not more than 10 years or both.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.