News Americas, BOSTON, MA, Fri. 22, 2013: Altering fingerprints through surgery to stay in the U.S.? Say it isn’t so!
According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston, that’s exactly what several criminal migrants have been doing and a doctor from the Dominican Republic and his assistant allegedly helped them do it.
Danilo Montero-Ramirez, 61, and Teresa Araujo-Martinez, 40, were arrested recently in Peabody, MA for conspiring to harbor illegal aliens by altering their fingerprints through a surgical procedure.
HSI special agents said they became aware that Montero Ramirez, a licensed medical doctor in the Dominican Republic, was coming in the United States to meet with previously-deported aliens and perform surgery on their hands to alter their fingerprints.
Convicted criminals alter their fingerprints to help conceal their true identities from law enforcement and to dissociate themselves from their prior criminal history.
Montero-Ramirez arrived in the United States from the Dominican Republic the week of Nov. 12. He and Araujo-Martinez made arrangements to perform surgeries Nov. 16 on individuals for $4,500 each.
HSI special agents arrested the pair before the surgeries began. Had the surgeries taken place, these individuals would have been given controlled substances by Araujo-Martinez.
At the time of the arrests, special agents seized surgical cutting equipment, gauze, bandages, syringes and prescription medication from the defendants. Araujo-Martinez, also a Dominican citizen, was found to be in possession of a large quantity of pain medication, including Oxycodone and other substances.
If convicted on the charge of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, the defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1 million and three years of supervised release.
If convicted on the charge of conspiracy to harbor aliens, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.