- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2005

Two Guatemala natives have been arrested on the Eastern Shore of Virginia by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on charges they produced and sold fraudulent Social Security and alien registration cards.

ICE spokesman Mike Gilhooly said Margarito Diaz-Ortiz and Perfecto Perez-Perez were identified in a criminal complaint following a lengthy investigation. Both appeared in U.S. District Court in Norfolk yesterday and were ordered held without bond.

Mr. Diaz-Ortiz had submitted an application for an immigration benefit and was authorized to remain in the United States pending the adjudication of that benefit request, Mr. Gilhooly said. The Guatemala native also had a valid employment work authorization.

Mr. Perez-Perez is illegally in the United States, Mr. Gilhooly said, adding that while he was born in Guatemala, he also claims Mexican citizenship.

ICE agents seized more than 1,000 blank Social Security and resident alien card templates when the men were taken into custody, Mr. Gilhooly said, adding that $37,000 in cash, a firearm and equipment used to produce the fraudulent cards also were seized.

He said that during the course of the investigation, ICE agents also arrested seven illegal aliens on administrative immigration violations and seized other evidence that could be part of the criminal cases. He said the agents also recovered legitimate identification cards that were being used by a number of illegal aliens in what appeared to be an identity theft.

The case, which also involved the FBI and the Virginia State Police, remains under investigation.

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