SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 13 individuals on marriage fraud-related charges. U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez and ICE Special Agent in Charge Manuel Oyola Torres announced the arrest today in San Juan.
The indictments charged U.S. Citizen Lydia Josefina Garcia-Rios, 43, and Marcos Antonio Melendez-Garcia, 47, of Peru; U.S. citizen, Jose Miguel Delgado-Ortega, 41, and Gaby M. Yamamoto-Mejia, 43, of Peru; U.S. citizen Jorge Higgs-Gaetan, 41, and Estela Stakun-Del Negro, 47, of Argentina; and U.S. citizen Maria de Lourdes Rosa-Fernandez, 27, and Ricardo Javier Fresneda, 30, of Argentina, with willfully and unlawfully entering into marriage for the purpose of circumventing the immigration laws of the United States. All were in violation of Title 8, United States Code (USC), Section 1325(c) and Title 18, USC Section 2.
The arrests all took place in the San Juan metropolitan area with the exception of Jorge Higgs-Gaetan's and Maria de Lourdes Rosa-Fernandez's who were arrested in Caguas, Puerto Rico and New Jersey, respectively.
Marriage fraud is punishable by up to five years imprisonment. Aliens charged with this crime face deportation from the United States.
Initial appearances for those arrested in Puerto Rico were held this afternoon in U.S. District Court.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Eugenio A. Lomba.
Defendants are presumed innocent until and when proven guilty.