CHARLESTON, S.C. - A defendant indicted in a document fraud case that yielded the identification of a ring of nationals from Trinidad and Tobago who conspired to obtain genuine South Carolina driver's licenses was arrested in Boston Thursday by special agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Andrew Aberdeen is charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina with having obtained a genuine South Carolina driver's license using a counterfeit U.S. Virgin Islands driver's license. Aberdeen is scheduled for his initial appearance in Florence, S.C., on Dec. 16.
Also arrested by ICE HSI was Kenneth Mitchell who is charged with allegedly selling counterfeit Social Security cards and U.S. Virgin Islands birth certificates to all defendants indicted with the exception of Aberdeen. Mitchell allegedly produced the counterfeit documents and subsequently sold them to nine of the 10 defendants.
"Document fraud poses a severe threat to both national security and public safety," said Brock Nicholson, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Atlanta which oversees Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. "Individuals and organizations who think they can continue to create false documents to help criminals hide their identities without penalty should think twice. ICE HSI along with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously pursue those individuals and organizations trying to exploit and corrupt America's legal identification system by assisting criminals and potential terrorists to remain hidden among our legitimate citizens."
The indictment also charges Sheraz Mahomed, Veronica Ragbir, Nicholas Ragbir, Sherwin Durham, Bowlah Jagessar, Bissoondial Ragoonanan, Sabrina Lutchman and Jason Campbell. Charges were dismissed for Mahomed, Ragbir and Ragbir as the individuals were charged and convicted by the state.
Campbell, who was arrested by ICE HSI in Philadelphia on Nov. 23, is awaiting extradition to South Carolina. His initial appearance is yet to be scheduled.
The remaining defendants arrested by ICE HSI in New York are all in U.S. Marshal's custody awaiting extradition to South Carolina. Their respective initial appearances are yet to be set.
Document and benefit fraud pose a severe threat to national security and public safety because they create a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, criminals and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States.
Nicholson thanked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, Office of Integrity and Accountability for their assistance with the investigation.