By Daniel Silliman
Eight undocumented immigrants were indicted in federal court on charges they were making fake documents.
The men, who lived in Clayton, DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett counties, were allegedly manufacturing drivers licenses, Social Security cards, and permanent resident cards.
Francisco Santillan Arellano, 36, Gabriel Garcia Sanchez, 24, Luis Aguilar Romero, 29, Jose Luis Plata Silva, 52, Jose Rodriguez Rodriguez, 43, Franciso Hernandez Lopez, 24, Giovanny Trejo Gomez, 22, and Cesar Vazquez-Ventura, 28, were indicted by a United States grand jury on Wednesday.
Five of the men have also allegedly stolen identities, as part of the manufacturing scam.
"We are committed to upholding the integrity of federal and state-issued identification documents, and we will vigorously enforce the laws against those who counterfeit such documents for sale to individuals who may use them to commit additional crimes," said David E. Nahmias, United States attorney.
According to Nahmias, the men had set up fake-document print shops in apartments around the Atlanta area. They were printing the variety of documents using computers, laminating equipment, card stock and other stationary-store supplies. The men sold the documents to undercover United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
There were more than 70 fake documents connected with the printing crew, all of them bearing real identifying information, such as Social Security numbers, which belonged to American citizens.
"This case is an example of ICE's aggressive efforts to protect America's borders, and arrest those who would penetrate them illegally, and who would obtain fraudulent documents in order to stay here," said Kenneth Smith, ICE's special agent in charge.
Smith described the print shop operation as a "multi-level criminal enterprise" perpetuating fraud.
The eight men are officially charged with conspiring to unlawfully manufacture and possess fraudulent identification documents.
The case is being investigated by ICE and the Cobb County Police Department.