Champlain, N.Y. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Field Operations announced the federal arrests of two subjects in separate cases.
On February 18, CBP officers encountered a 40-year-old male claiming to be a Canadian citizen, as he applied for admission at the Champlain, N.Y. port of entry. The subject presented a valid Canadian passport as proof of his identity and legal status in Canada and advised the primary officer that he was en route to purchase a television and would be returning to Canada later in the day. Additional questioning raised the suspicion of the primary officer and the subject was referred to CBP secondary processing for verification of his immigration status.
During the course of the secondary interview, the subject again claimed he was a citizen of Canada, but after further questioning, recanted his claim and advised CBP that his true identity was in fact that of Mouhamadou Lamine Faye, a citizen of Senegal without lawful documentation to enter or remain in the United States. Faye further advised that he was not the lawful owner of the Canadian passport and found it on the ground in Montreal. Faye was arrested by CBP officers and charged with misuse of a passport.
The second case, also occurring on February 18th, involved the arrest of citizen of the Dominican Republic who made a false claim to U.S. citizenship. CBP officers encountered the subject as he applied for admission into the country. The subject presented a valid U.S. passport bearing the name Enrique Hernandez, claimed he was born in Puerto Rico and to be returning home to New York after vacationing in Montreal. The subject was randomly selected for a secondary CBP enforcement exam.
During the course of the inspection, the subject's citizenship came into question, leading CBP officers to query his fingerprints. That query resulted in a match to Luis Octavio-Diaz, a citizen of the Dominican Republic. Further record checks revealed that Octavio-Diaz had entered the United States illegally in the mid 1990s and was subsequently arrested and convicted in Massachusetts for trafficking of cocaine and conspiracy to violate laws. Octavio-Diaz was physically removed from the United States to the Dominican Republic in October 1997.
When confronted with the findings, the subject admitted that his true identity was in fact that of Luis Octavio-Diaz. He further advised that, shortly after being deported, he re-entered the United States illegally by crossing the U.S./Mexico border on foot somewhere in Arizona. Octavio-Diaz claimed that he was able to fraudulently obtain a U.S. passport. He further stated that he has no legal status in the United States. Octavio-Diaz was arrested by CBP and charged with false claim to U.S. Citizenship.
Both subjects are being detained at the Clinton County Jail in Plattsburgh, N.Y. pending prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York.
"Both of the aforementioned cases clearly demonstrates that the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which requires travelers to utilize a limited number of entry documents coupled with our officer due diligence, enables CBP to detect fraudulent and illegally obtained documents used in the attempt to unlawfully enter United States" said Champlain Port Director Paul Mongillo.
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.