One tried to fly to Texas using fraudulent Puerto Rico driver’s license
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers arrested, in separate incidents, two citizens of the Dominican Republic who were previously removed after serving time for prior felony convictions.
“CBP officers seek to detect and apprehend convicted criminals who try re-enter the country illegally and return to break our laws,” stated Marcelino Borges, Director of Field Operations for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Gregorio Castillo-Espiritusanto was arrested by CBP officers on January 18 attempting to board in the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport a United Airlines flight bound for Houston, Texas. He appeared Tuesday afternoon before US District Court Judge Marcos E. López for an initial hearing charging him with re-entry after being previously removed after a conviction for commission of an aggravated felony.
Mr. Castillo-Espiritusanto presented to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers a counterfeit Puerto Rico driver’s license, claiming that his name was Gilberto Resto-Vargas. Later he presented to CBP Officers a Social Security card and a Puerto Rico Birth Certificate claiming to be a US citizen born in Puerto Rico. Later the defendant admitted paying $500.00 to fraudulently obtain the documents in order to travel to the Continental United States.
In 2001, Mr. Castillo-Espiritusanto pleaded guilty and was convicted at the United States District Court of the Southern District of Texas for Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five (5) kilograms of cocaine, serving 120 months of imprisonment. He was removed in 2009.
Hector Julio Rosario-Diaz, was arrested on January 19 at the Pan American Dock in San Juan attempting to travel to the Dominican Republic on board of the M/V Caribbean Fantasy Ferry. He appeared Tuesday afternoon before US District Court Judge Marcos E. López for an initial hearing charging him with re-entry after being previously removed after a conviction for commission of a felony.
In 2012, defendant Rosario-Diaz had plead guilty before the US District Court of the Puerto Rico to having re-entered the country after being removed in two prior occasions.
Special Assistant US Attorney Jorge Ramos led the prosecution of both cases.
If convicted, Mr. Castillo-Espiritusanto could be fined, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and Mr. Rosario-Diaz could be fined, imprisoned for not more than 10 years.
All defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty in 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.