- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Two men found working at a Pascagoula shipyard under assumed names plan to plead guilty to impersonating United States citizens.

Court records show Chris Chirinos, 41, and Gabriel De Jesus Ascanio-Salto, 30, are set to waive indictment and plead guilty May 12 in U.S. District Court. The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged them in bills of information.

They and a third man were arrested Jan. 29 following a Homeland Security Investigations probe of illegal purchases of identifying documents belonging to residents of the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The investigation revealed several employees of Southern Sandblasting and Coatings, based in Dayton, Texas, were using fraudulent birth certificates and Social Security numbers and the names of the rightful owners.

The company had employees who worked for VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula.

HSI agents went to VT Halter Marine to arrest them and said they found two of them hiding and caught Chirinos on Bayou Cassotte Road after he had jumped the shipyard fence.

Court papers show Chirinos and Ascanio-Salto both have families in South Mississippi.

The third man arrested, Luis Alberto Virgen-Gonzalez, 33, had been removed from the U.S. twice in 2005 and once in 2006, and told agents he’d been in the U.S. the past 10 months.

Virgen-Gonzalez received credit for 51 days served at his sentencing March 30.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1EfO9hT) he was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation proceedings.

Detention orders indicate the other two also could be deported.

___

Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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