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Document and Benefit Fraud
06/20/2008

ICE teams up with DSS and Colombian authorities to dismantle visa fraud and alien smuggling organization

BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombian authorities working jointly with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agents arrested 17 Colombian nationals and dismantled a visa fraud and alien smuggling organization operating in Bogota and Cali, Colombia. The arrests took place June 4, 2008.

The individuals arrested face criminal charges in Colombia ranging from human trafficking, conspiracy, and producing and selling false identity documents. Under Colombian law, each individual arrested faces the possibility of 20 years in prison for human trafficking and falsifying official U.S. documents.

The investigation dubbed Grand Scheme revealed that the trafficking ring allegedly provided individuals fraudulent documents for a fee of $5,000 to gain access to the United States. The illegal ring allegedly coached applicants, provided false supporting documents, and produced false identities for U.S. visa applicants with the purpose of fraudulently obtaining passage to the United States.

Operation Grand Scheme highlights the cooperative efforts between the Colombian Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS), the Colombian Fiscalia, and the U.S. Embassy in Bogota.

The Colombian Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (Administrative Department for Security) played an integral part in the investigation.