San Juan, Puerto Rico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport arrested a citizen of the Dominican Republic seeking entry into the United States by falsely claiming U.S. citizenship.
On September 12, a 40-year-old male applied for admission into the U.S. after arriving from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, by presenting a U.S. passport under the name of Jose Luis Rodriguez-Reyes. He was accompanied by his wife, who presented a Permanent Resident Card, and their small child.
CBP officers conducting a secondary examination suspected that this subject was an impostor and was making a false claim to U.S. citizenship.
During additional questioning, it was discovered that he entered the United States without inspection approximately 15 years ago and obtained a U.S. passport by fraud in 2004. Since then, he had taken the identity of Jose Rodriguez-Reyes and petitioned for his Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) wife under this false identity.
CBP officers arrested Mr. Marcelino Bueno-Cespedes for documented false claim to U.S. citizenship.
The case was presented and accepted by the Assistant United States Attorney Evelyn Canals for criminal prosecution.
Mr. Bueno-Cespedes made an initial appearance late yesterday before US District Court Judge Camille Velez-Rive facing charges for violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1543, fraudulent use of passport, and Section 911, false claim to US citizenship.
If convicted Mr. Bueno-Cespedes faces a fine or not more than 10 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 the U.S.," said San Juan area port director Maria Palmer. "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.