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Document and Benefit Fraud
11/18/2010

ICE-led task force arrests 4 for selling counterfeit identity documents

DALLAS - Four foreign nationals were arrested on Thursday for allegedly for manufacturing and selling counterfeit documents. The arrests were made by special agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations, and investigators with the Dallas County District Attorney's Office

"These arrests and investigation were initiated by members of the ICE-led Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. This task force is comprised of more than 30 local, state and federal agencies that share their experience, expertise and law enforcement authorities," said John Chakwin Jr., special agent in charge of the ICE HSI in Dallas. "Together, these agencies help ensure that government identification documents are valid, and those receiving government benefits are legitimate." Chakwin oversees 128 counties in north Texas and the state of Oklahoma.

The successful operation resulted in four arrests at local multi-vendor bazaars including Vikon Village Flea Market and the Garland Plaza Bazaar, both in Garland, Texas, and the Garibaldi Mercado Bazaar and the Plaza Latina Bazaar, both in Dallas. The suspects - Kiros Wolde Selassie, Rossy Ruiz, Rosalba Villaverde-Acevedo and Yazmin Hinojosa - were all operating "ID stores" at these bazaars, where they made counterfeit identification documents and sold them to customers. Producing a counterfeit Texas identification card is a second-degree felony with a punishment range of two to 20 years in prison.

"In order for law enforcement to be successful at cracking down on criminal activity and preventing citizens from becoming victims, agencies have to work together and support each other," said Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins. "We were happy to work with ICE on this important operation and we hope that today's arrests send a strong message that we will not tolerate the production of fraudulent identification documents in Dallas County, particularly when one of the alleged criminals was targeting minors."