Making Immigration Happen
Chicago Woman Arrested for Selling Fraudulent Identity Documents to Illegal Aliens
A woman was arrested Wednesday, February 13, 2013, on charges she allegedly sold fraudulent identity documents to illegal aliens. These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigra

Tag Archives: Office of International Affairs

Iran Native Charged with Exporting U.S. Military Equipment to Singapore and Hong Kong

Amin Ravan, a citizen of Iran, and his Iran-based company, IC Market Iran (IMI), was charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday, November 20, 2012, with conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling, and violating the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) in connection with the unlawful export of 55 military antennas from the United States to Singapore and Hong Kong. The charges are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and its federal law enforcement partners.

According to the indictment, which was returned under seal by a grand jury in Washington Nov. 16, Ravan was based in Iran and, at various times, acted as an agent of IMI in Iran and an agent of Corezing International Pte Ltd, a company based Singapore that also maintained offices in Hong Kong and China.

On Oct. 10, 2012, Ravan was arrested by authorities in Malaysia in connection with a U.S. provisional arrest warrant. The United States is seeking to extradite him from Malaysia to stand trial in Washington. If convicted of the charges against him, Ravan faces a potential 20 years in prison for the AECA violation, 10 years in prison for the smuggling charge and five years in prison for the conspiracy charge.

According to the indictment, in late 2006 and early 2007, Ravan attempted to procure for shipment toIranexport-controlled antennas made by a company in Massachusetts, through an intermediary in Iran. The antennas sought by Ravan were cavity-backed spiral antennas suitable for airborne or shipboard direction finding systems or radar warning receiver applications, as well as biconical antennas that are suitable for airborne and shipboard environments, including in several military aircraft.

After this first attempt was unsuccessful, Ravan joined with two co-conspirators at Corezing in Singapore so that Corezing would contact the Massachusetts company and obtain the antennas on behalf of Ravan for shipment toIran. When Corezing was unable to purchase the export-controlled antennas from the Massachusetts firm, Corezing then contacted another individual in the United States who was ultimately able to obtain these items from the Massachusetts firm by slightly altering the frequency range of the antennas to avoid detection by the company’s export compliance officer.

In March 2007, Ravan and the co-conspirators at Corezing agreed on a purchase price of $86,750 for 50 cavity-backed antennas from the United States and discussed structuring payment from Ravan to his Corezing co-conspirators in a manner that would avoid transactional delays caused by the Iran embargo. Ultimately, between July and September 2007, a total of 50 cavity-backed spiral antennas and five biconical antennas were exported from the United States to Corezing in Singapore and Hong Kong.

According to the indictment, no party to these transactions – including Ravan or IMI – ever applied for or received a license from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls to export any of these antennas from the United States to Singapore or Hong Kong.

Two of Ravan’s co-conspirators, Lim Kow Seng, aka Eric Lim, and Hia Soo Gan Benson, aka Benson Hia, principals of Corezing, have been charged in a separate indictment in the District of Columbia in connection with this particular transaction involving the export of military antennas to Singapore and Hong Kong. The two Corezing principals were arrested in Singapore last year and the United States is seeking their extradition.

This investigation was jointly conducted by HSI special agents in Boston and Los Angeles; FBI agents and analysts in Minneapolis; and Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement agents and analysts in Chicago and Boston.

Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, and U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Asuncion of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbiaand Trial Attorney Richard S. Scott of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Guatemalan Woman Wanted for Government Assassination is Deported

A Guatemalan woman wanted for her alleged role in the murder of a former top security advisor to the Guatemalan government was handed over to authorities in Guatemala City Tuesday, October 30, 2012, by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), capping a two-year effort by her native country to secure her capture and return.

Maria Del Rosario Melgar Martinez, aka Mary Ro, 50, was repatriated to Guatemalaon board a charter flight coordinated by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Air Operations (IAO) Unit. Upon arrival, ERO officers turned Melgar over to Guatemalan law enforcement personnel.

Melgar is wanted in Guatemala for her alleged complicity in the murder four years ago of Victor Jose Rivera Azuaje, who served as a high-level advisor to Guatemala’s Department of Interior during several administrations. Melgar, who worked as Rivera’s personal assistant, was with him the night of April 7, 2008, when he was fatally shot. According to the Guatemalan arrest warrant, which charges Melgar with murder and illicit association, the two were riding together in a vehicle when they were both struck by gunfire. The arrest warrant states that several witness in the preliminary trial of the accused triggerman implicated Melgar, alleging she helped Rivera’s killer locate and track him. The charging document claims Melgar received money from Guatemalan drug traffickers for her cooperation.

An ERO officer, assisted by personnel from the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Southwest Regional Task Force, arrested Melgar Aug. 3 at the federal building in downtown Los Angeles when she arrived for an interview related to her application for permanent residence. Unbeknownst to Melgar, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had denied her benefit application after being alerted by ICE about the outstanding Guatemalan warrant. Following her arrest, ICE placed Melgar in removal proceedings. Earlier this month, an immigration judge granted Melgar voluntary departure to Guatemala under safeguards, paving the way for the repatriation Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

“Those who seek to escape responsibility for their actions by fleeing to theUnited Stateswill find no sanctuary in our communities,” said Timothy S. Robbins, field office director for ERO Los Angeles. “As this case makes clear, ICE is working closely with its foreign counterparts to promote public safety and hold suspected criminals accountable – no matter where they commit their crimes.”

ERO Los Angeles received substantial assistance with the case from the ICE Assistant Attaché Guatemala.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 500 foreign fugitives from theUnited Stateswho were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with ICE’s Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in theUnited States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.

Mexican National Wanted for Murder is Deported by ICE

A 36-year-old Mexican national wanted in his native country for murder was removed Wednesday, October 24, 2012, by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers.

Rigoberto Puga-De La Rosa was transported from the Seattle area by an ICE Air Operations charter flight to San Diego, Calif., where he was turned over to Mexican officials at the Otay Mesa border crossing.

Puga-De La Rosa was taken into custody by ERO Criminal Alien Program officers at the Grays Harbor County Jail in August and placed in removal proceedings following his release by local authorities. He was in local custody on state charges.

Records checks by ERO at that time indicated Puga-De La Rosa might be a suspect in a homicide committed in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Los Angeles-based representatives from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office subsequently confirmed there was an outstanding 2003 warrant for his arrest on charges of first degree murder. Mexican authorities requested theU.S.government’s assistance in returning Puga-De La Rosa to face charges.

Earlier this month, Puga-De La Rosa was order deported by an immigration judge, paving the way for his repatriation to Mexico Wednesday, October 24, 2012.

“ICE’s top immigration enforcement priority is to protect the community from individuals who may pose a threat to public safety,” said Bryan Wilcox, acting field office director for ERO Seattle. “Had it not been for ERO officers working cooperatively with local jail authorities to screen inmates for immigration violations, this dangerous murder suspect would have been set free.”

Puga-De La Rosa was held by ICE at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma pending his removal.

ERO’s Criminal Alien Program (CAP) identifies potentially deportable aliens incarcerated in jails and prisons throughout the United States. CAP officers interview and review inmates’ biographical information. Although ERO initiates removal proceedings against criminal aliens through CAP, these individuals may remain in prison or jail to complete their criminal hearings or sentences. Under CAP, ERO uses a risk-based approach to make determinations about the detention and arrest of criminal aliens, with priority given to cases involving individuals deemed to be a security or public safety threat.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 500 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with ICE’s Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.

Murder Suspect Deported to Native Jamaica

A 34-year-old Jamaican national wanted in his native country for murder was removed Thursday, May 31, 2012, by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers and turned over to authorities in that nation’s capital.

Carlington David Richards was repatriated to Jamaica aboard an ICE air charter flight under escort by ERO officers. Richards, who is a former police officer, was charged with homicide by Jamaican authorities in 2011. He fled to the United States days before his court appearance. ERO officers received an Interpol lead regarding the outstanding murder warrant, which subsequently led to Richards’ capture in March. He was arrested by ERO officers at a motel in Federal Way on charges of overstaying a visitor visa.

“ERO officers are dedicated to ensuring the United States isn’t a safe haven for criminal aliens,” said Bryan Wilcox, acting field office director for ERO Seattle. “Removing those who pose a threat to public safety is a top enforcement priority for ICE.”

Richards was one of 43 illegal aliens arrested in Washington state during Operation Cross Check, ICE’s nationwide sweep for criminal aliens. The six-day operation at the end of March netted more than 3,100 criminal aliens across the country.

Richards entered the U.S. in late 2011 through Miami on a visitor visa, which was expired at the time of his arrest.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 335 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including
kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with ICE’s Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.

Former Officer Accused of Human Rights Atrocities in Bosnia Deported

A former Bosnian-Serb police commander wanted in his native country for genocide and atrocities against thousands of Bosnian Muslims was deported Wednesday, capping a successful effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate the case and gain his removal from the United States.

Dejan Radojkovic, 61, arrived in Sarajevo the morning of May 24, 2012, via commercial aircraft under escort by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal (ERO) officers. Radojkovic was immediately turned over to Bosnian and Herzegovina law enforcement officials.

The former Las Vegas resident faces criminal charges in Bosnia and Herzegovina for his role in the Srebrenica genocide. The atrocities took place over several days in July 1995 as Bosnian Serb forces overran a contingent of United Nations peacekeepers, driving tens of thousands of Bosnian-Muslim civilians from the Srebrenica “safe area” and executing more than 7,000 Bosnian-Muslim men and boys. Authorities allege Radojkovic used his position as a commander in the Special Police Brigade to aid in carrying out the crimes. Specifically, prosecutors charge that Radojkovic and his platoon rounded up some 200
Bosnian-Muslim men in the Konjevic Polje region and transferred them to locations where they were executed.

“For the families who lost loved ones at Srebrenica, justice has been a long time coming, but they can take consolation in the fact that those responsible for this tragedy are now being held accountable for their crimes,” said ICE Director John Morton. “I applaud the outstanding work by ICE attorneys, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, and ERO officers in bringing a successful conclusion to this case. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure our country does not serve as a haven for human rights
violators and others who have committed heinous acts.”

Radojkovic, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, entered the United States in 1999. After a joint investigation by HSI and Bosnian authorities linked Radojkovic to possible war crimes, he was arrested by HSI special agents at his Las Vegas residence in January 2009. Ten months later, an immigration judge ordered Radojkovic deported on multiple grounds, including a finding that he “ordered…and/or otherwise participated in extrajudicial killing.” Radojkovic’s removal order was upheld upon appeal.

In seeking to establish Radojkovic’s role in the Srebrenica genocide, ICE worked closely with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (in The Hague) and the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
This week’s removal is the culmination of a long-term effort by multiple domestic and overseas divisions of ICE, including HSI, ERO, the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, the Office of International Affairs and the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center in Washington, D.C. ICE also received assistance with the case from the U.S. Department of State.

Radojkovic is the second former special police commander linked to the massacre to be targeted by ICE for enforcement action. Nedjo Ikonic, formerly of Milwaukee, Wis., was deported Jan. 19, 2010, to face genocide-related charges in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center investigates human rights violators who try to evade justice by seeking shelter in the United States, including those who have participated in war crimes and acts of genocide, torture and extrajudicial killings. These individuals may use fraudulent identities to enter the country and attempt to blend into communities in the United States. Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the toll-free HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Tips may be provided anonymously.

Since fiscal year 2004, ICE has arrested more than 200 individuals for human rights-related violations under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders and physically removed more than 400 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Currently, HSI has more than 180 active investigations and ICE is pursuing more than 1,900 leads and removal cases involving suspected human rights violators from nearly 95 different countries.