HAMMOND, Ind. - Nine contract janitorial workers first arrested for administrative immigration violations at the BP Whiting oil refinery in December were criminally arrested Tuesday for Social Security and false identification offenses. The criminal arrests resulted from an ongoing critical infrastructure worksite enforcement investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
ICE agents arrested 15 illegal workers on administrative immigration charges Dec. 10, 2008. All were employed by United Building Maintenance (UBM) of Carol Stream, Ill. to perform janitorial duties at the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. Six of the 15 were charged criminally in federal court in December; the remaining nine were arrested and charged in federal court Tuesday.
ICE initiated the investigation after receiving information that illegal aliens were being contracted by an Illinois company to work at the BP refinery, and that they had access to secure areas of the plant. ICE identifies oil refineries as critical infrastructure, which are crucial to our nation's ability to function and may be vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation.
Arrested today were:
- Luz Elena Galindo-Godinez, 41, Chicago
- Maria Maribel Reyes-Valenzuela, 39, Chicago
- Olga Sanchez-Tellez, 35, East Chicago, Ind.
- Maria Guadalupe Fernandez-Arevalos, 23, East Chicago, Ind.
- Maria Susana Fernandez-Arevalos, 28, East Chicago, Ind.
- Andres Castro-Rios, 37, Hammond, Ind.
- Leonor Bailon, 39, Hammond, Ind.
- Celia Bailon-Flores, 34, Hammond, Ind.
- Leticia Bailon-Flores, 31, East Chicago, Ind.
All except Maria Susana Fernandez-Arevalos are charged with: entering the United States illegally, misusing a Social Security number; and using a false identification document. Maria Susana Fernandez-Arevalos is charged with entering the United States illegally and using a false identification document.
All nine defendants had initial appearances Tuesday in federal court in Hammond, Ind., before Judge Andrew P. Rodovich and were released. The next court date in this case is set for April 22, 2009.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip Benson, Gary Bell and Toi Houston.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.