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
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
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.