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Federal Agents Arrest Nigerian Impostor Using U.S. Passport at BWI

Release Date: 
April 11, 2013

BALTIMORE—Federal agents arrested a Nigerian man, who was previously ordered removed from the U.S., after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered the man was an impostor to a U.S. passport that he possessed at Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshal Airport Friday.

Ogbonnaya Chibuzo Obi, 39, is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland for false claim to U.S. citizenship. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Obi.

According to court records, Obi arrived at BWI from Nigeria through the U.K. about 8:30 pm Friday and presented a U.S. passport belonging to Jontae William Thomas. During routine CBP questioning, Obi couldn't remember Thomas' mother's maiden name. CBP officers learned that Thomas was arrested in 1996 for drug possession and that Thomas had a tattoo. Obi said he had neither been arrested nor had a tattoo.

Court records also state that HSI agents determined that Obi looked nothing like the Maryland driver's license photo of Thomas.

A further CBP biometric examination revealed Obi's true identity. It also revealed that Obi was ordered removed from the U.S. following his 2005 conviction for defrauding the U.S. government.

"Violating U.S. immigration law is a serious offense and Customs and Border Protection is pleased that charges have been filed in this case," said Ricardo Scheller Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. "The United States is a welcoming nation, but we're not too welcoming to those who deliberately violate and disrespect our nation's laws."

Customs and Border Protection maintains a robust posture regarding the enforcement of our immigration laws and routinely intercepts impostors, fake or altered identity documents, and applicants presenting legitimate documents belonging to other people.

Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP's Travel website to learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S.

Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Obi will be transferred into ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations custody for removal after adjudication of his charges.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021