SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico –U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) San Juan Office of Field Operations officers arrested Saturday, 2 citizens of the Dominican Republic, attempting to travel to New York, by means of having an altered immigration stamp inside their passports, as proof of legal presence.
Riensil Domingo Betances-Brito and Héctor Bienvenido Hernandez-Vasquez appeared yesterday afternoon before US Magistrate Judge Camille Velez Rive for charges in violation of Title 18 USC section 1546(a), fraudulent use of visas and other documents.
“CBP officers seek to detect and apprehend persons who try to use fraudulent documents to elude detection and break our laws,” stated Marcelino Borges, Director of Field Operations for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Both Mr. Betances-Brito and Mr. Hernandez-Vasquez were found at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport before boarding an American Airlines flight destined to JFK in New York City. As proof of authorized presence in the United States, both men presented CBP officers a Dominican Republic passport, containing a Citizenship and Immigration Service ADIT Stamp.
An Alien Documentary Identification and Telecommunication (ADIT) Stamp is provided to a Legal Permanent Resident as provisional evidence of his or her resident status, when the “Green Card” is lost, stolen, to be replaced or was never received.
Both passengers were escorted to secondary inspection, where examination of the stamp revealed that the ADIT Stamps had been altered.
In August, another individual was arrested by CBP using an altered ADIT Stamp to reach the New York City area.
CBP Field Operations officers presented the case to Assistant US Attorney Nick Cannon who accepted the case for prosecution.
If convicted, both defendants could be fined, imprisoned not more than 10 years or both.
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.