ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Four Mexican nationals - two married couples - were ordered detained without bond in federal court here today after they were arrested in connection with a bribery case involving the illegal purchase of legitimate resident alien cards. Special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated the case and made the arrests Saturday.
One of the illegal aliens, Luis Daniel Miramontes-Morales, is accused of paying $12,000 in cash to a federal agent he believed to be a corrupt government employee in exchange for four resident alien cards, commonly referred to as "green cards." The arrests were part of a joint six-month investigation.
ICE and ATF special agents on March 15 arrested Miramontes-Morales, 44, and his wife, Guadalupe Miramontes-Morales, 43. Miramontes-Morales' sister, Margarita Ordoñez-Quintana, 33, and her husband, Francisco Javier Ordoñez-Morales, 44, are also in custody.
All four are in the country illegally, and were living in Evans, Colo. Miramontes-Morales is charged with bribing a public official; the other three are charged with illegally entering the United States.
"ICE relentlessly works to detect, investigate and prosecute anyone who tries to circumvent our immigration laws to obtain an immigration benefit," said Roberto G. Medina, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in El Paso. "We remain vigilant, and we will continue to strengthen our partnerships with other law enforcement agencies to maintain the integrity of our immigration system."
The joint investigation began in October when ATF and ICE special agents developed information about Luis Daniel Miramontes-Morales' interest in obtaining four legitimate resident alien cards by fraudulent means for his wife, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and himself.
On Saturday, all four drove from Colorado to Albuquerque, N.M., to pick up their green cards. Instead, they were arrested by federal agents. The government also seized $12,000 in cash and a Ford pickup truck.