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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

New Mexico man pleads guilty to aiding illegal aliens obtain driver's licenses

Criminal activity included arranging for aliens to travel to N.M. to obtain driver's licenses

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A former resident of Alamogordo, N.M., is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty Jan. 10 to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens within the United States.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents investigated a scheme that involved a conspiracy to assist illegal aliens of Middle Eastern decent to obtain genuine New Mexico driver's licenses through fraudulent means.

Mohamed Farooq Husain, 58, a naturalized U.S. citizen, lived in Alamogordo at the time he committed the offense. He was released under pretrial supervision and other conditions of release following his arrest July 27, 2011. He remains on conditions of release pending a sentencing date, which has not yet been set. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

The ICE HSI investigation established that Husain arranged for an illegal alien from Pakistan to travel from New York to New Mexico to obtain a driver's license.

Husain entered a guilty plea to conspiring with others to unlawfully transport illegal aliens, and helping them obtain New Mexico driver's licenses between September 2010 and July 2011. In entering his guilty plea, Husain admitted he facilitated a process that enabled illegal aliens to get New Mexico state driver's licenses. He admitted arranging for illegal aliens to travel to Albuquerque and enter month-to-month leases in local apartment complexes. He then arranged for the aliens to take the driver's license tests at a driving school.

Husain acknowledged using the Internet to make appointments for the illegal aliens to apply for driver's licenses at New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) offices. He also drove them to their appointments. If the appointment was at a Las Cruces MVD office, Husain arranged for the aliens to travel back home by way of the El Paso International Airport to avoid U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints. After MVD mailed the permanent driver's licenses to the Albuquerque apartments, Husain picked them up and mailed them to the aliens' actual addresses.

Husain admitted that from March through July 2011, on a monthly basis, he assisted one or two illegal aliens obtain New Mexico driver's licenses.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection also participated in the investigation.