Diplomatic Security Service Arrests Nine for Passport Fraud in California's Central Valley

San Francisco, California - In 2013, the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) arrested nine residents of California’s Central Valley on charges of federal passport fraud, Dean K. Shear, Special-Agent-In-Charge of the DSS San Francisco Field Office, announced today.

The accused allegedly applied for United States passports using counterfeit, stolen, or other unlawfully obtained citizenship and identity documentation, which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The majority of these cases were referred to DSS by the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

The arrested individuals are:

Roberto Cantu of Bakersfield
Rafael Delarosa of Fresno
Pedro Tellez of Modesto
Vernon Griffith of Oakdale
Regina Chico-Garcia of Orosi
Rafael Zarate of Sacramento
Roberto Medina-Martinez of Sacramento
Jaime Diaz formerly of Tracy
Emmanuel Espino-Martinez of Visalia

"The Diplomatic Security Service is committed to investigating and pursuing anyone who applies for or obtains a United States passport using false documents," said Shear. "The U.S. passport is the most coveted travel document in the world. There are foreign nationals who attempt to fraudulently acquire U.S. passports to carry out criminal activities, including terrorism, inside our borders. These crimes threaten the national security of the United States."

Those arrested were referred for criminal prosecution and immigration proceedings. They are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Anyone with information about false or fraudulently issued passports is encouraged to contact DSS at (415) 705-1176.

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