Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 03020543 (posted Feb. 5, 2003)"
For Immediate Release
Friday, January 31, 2003
Three Employees of U.S. Consulate in Mexico Arrested and Charged with
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff of the
Criminal Division and United States Attorney Michael Shelby of the Southern
District of Texas announced today that three separate criminal complaints were
filed with the federal court in Laredo, Texas late last evening charging three
employees of the United States Consulate in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, with
conspiracy to commit visa fraud.
All three defendants, Sergio Genaro Ochoa-Alarcon, 31, Benjamin Antonio
Ayala-Morales, 34, and Ramon Alberto Torres-Galvan, 34, are citizens of Mexico
and were arrested last evening in the United States by agents of the Diplomatic
Security Service, Department of State. The investigation, which began
approximately seven months ago and ultimately resulted in the closure of the
Consulate office on Jan. 29, 2003, continues.
All three defendants appeared in federal court early this morning. The three
defendants were advised of their right to representation by counsel and have
requested counsel be appointed to represent them. Additionally, the United
States requested that all three defendants be detained in federal custody
pending indictment in this case. United States Magistrate Adriana Arce-Flores
has scheduled detention hearings for all three defendants for Thursday, February
6, 2003 at 9:30 a.m.
According to the complaints filed in federal district court in the Laredo
Division of the Southern District of Texas, agents of the Diplomatic Security
Service initiated an investigation last year into allegations that Consulate
employees were involved in a scheme to provide visas and border crossing cards
in exchange for money. Several participants in the scheme are alleged to have
admitted their involvement in the scheme. The scheme allegedly involved persons
buying visas without required interviews and without determinations that a
person was qualified for a visa.
These complaints arise from an ongoing investigation being conducted by
Special Agents of the Diplomatic Security Service, United States Department of
State. The criminal case is being prosecuted by Department of Justice, Criminal
Division, Trial Attorneys Peter Zeidenberg and Jim Oliver and Assistant United
States Attorney Dixie Morrow of the United States Attorney’s Laredo Division