Counterfeit document mastermind indicted in Denver

| Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has indicted the ringleader of a counterfeit document organization that produced everything from false driver’s licenses to Social Security cards.

Pedro Castorena-Ibarra, of Guadalajara, Mexico, was indicted by a grand jury in Denver for his involvement with the organization. The U.S. Justice department plans to extradite him from Mexico to face the criminal charges. If convicted of the current charges, he faces as much as 35 years in prison.

According to a news release from ICE, between 1998 and 2005, Castorena-Ibarra headed an organization that manufactured and distributed counterfeit alien registration cards, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and other identification cards. He also forged identification documents from Mexico.

Acting U.S. Attorney Bill Leone said in the news release that operations such as this are dangerous, in that they supply false documents not only to illegal immigrants, but also to drug smugglers, money launderers and potential terrorists.

Castorena-Ibarra was previously targeted by investigations in Texas in 1994 and 1995, during which time he reportedly fled to Mexico.

Several other members of the organization were arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty as a result of the Texas investigations, but Castorena-Ibarra continued to be involved in the organization.

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