- Associated Press - Monday, August 7, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A 31-year-old Las Cruces man faces up to five years in prison when sentenced after pleading guilty to charges stemming from an alleged conspiracy involving sham marriages and foreign nationals.

Santiago Aveles pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Albuquerque to conspiracy and marriage fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Mexico says Aveles, four Chinese nationals living illegally in the United States and a naturalized U.S. citizen were charged April 19 in a conspiracy indictment.

Aveles and one of the Chinese nationals also were accused of participating in a 2016 fraudulent marriage.

The office says Aveles‘ role in the alleged conspiracy included arranging meetings between foreign nationals and U.S. citizens and helping foreign nationals get marriage licenses and other documents.

The co-defendants have pleaded not guilty and await trial.

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