SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection enforcement officers arrested a citizen of the Dominican Republic on Wednesday for attempting to fly to New York using fraudulent identity documents.
Esbelia DeLa Cruz-Peralta appeared today before U.S. District Court Judge Silvia Carreño-Coll facing charges for violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1546, fraud and misuse of visa, permits and other documents.
Ms. DeLa Cruz-Peralta was found at the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, Carolina, Puerto Rico, attempting to board a Jet Blue flight destined to the city of New York.
The defendant was referred for a closer inspection because the document appeared to be altered.
Immigration databases revealed her true identity as Esbelia DeLa Cruz-Peralta, a citizen of the Dominican Republic.
During processing, CBP enforcement officers found a Puerto Rico birth certificate issued under the name of "Isabel Reyes-Lacen" in the possession of the defendant.
The case was presented and accepted by the Assistant United States Attorney Evelyn Canals for criminal prosecution.
If convicted Ms. DeLa Cruz-Peralta faces a fine, and not more than five years of imprisonment, or both.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers remain vigilant as they review entry documents to identify and apprehend those who use fraudulent or invalid documents in an attempt to enter and remain in the U.S.," said Marcelino Borges, Director of Field Operations for Puerto Rico and the USVI. "CBP officers train regularly to become experts in document examination and interviewing techniques."
CBP Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. The CBP officer's primary mission is anti-terrorism. Everyday they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing trade laws, enforcing immigration laws, protecting the nation's food supply and protecting U.S. agriculture industry from pests and diseases.
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.