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ALLEGED NETWORK OF PASSPORT FORGERS ARRESTED

Guatemala, January 17, 2014. The National Civil Police (PNC), with the support of the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) and CICIG, arrested 21 individuals—including officials of the General Directorate of Migration (DGM), employees of the National Registry of Persons (RENAP) and intermediary agents—for their alleged ties to a criminal organization that illegally facilitated the temporary residence and the entry into and departure from Guatemala of citizens of diverse nationalities, who used Guatemalan passports that had been issued illegally.

These arrests were the outcome of 28 different searches of premises in Guatemala City and other municipalities.

The arrested individuals are charged with falsification of facts, falsification of documents, abuse of authority, criminal association and illegal transportation of persons.

Arrested:

  1. Arnoldo de Jesús Miranda Fuentes, Secretary General of the DGM Workers' Union (alleged ringleader of the criminal structure).
  2. Carlos Ovidio Blanco Guzmán, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  3. José Alberto Caniz Valenzuela, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  4. Omar Osberto Cifuentes Lazo, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  5. Verónica Ixmucané Bonilla Marroquín, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  6. Santos Bocanegra Morales, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  7. Iris Vanessa Marín Sierra, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  8. Gloria Estela Alvizures Palencia, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  9. Celeste Suseth Aquino Mejía, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  10. Mario Roberto García Portillo, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  11. Roberto Eduardo Cozano Celis, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  12. Sanddy Aracely Palma Osorio, DGM official at La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City).
  13. Rosa María Yala Golón (intermediary agent).
  14. Rafael Rivas Olmina, official of the DGM Passport Issuing Authorities.
  15. Veer Singh (intermediary agent)
  16. Julio Wilfredo Lux Ayala (intermediary agent) .
  17. Wendy Janneth Botello Díaz, civil registrar of RENAP.
  18. Fabio Alexis Arévalo, assistant at the RENAP registry.
  19. Sara Luz Borja Vásquez, assistant at the RENAP registry.
  20. Linda Celeste Galindo del Cid, assistant at the RENAP registry.
  21. Francisco García Meléndez, official of the Quetzaltenango Passport Issuing Authorities.

Background
The Public Prosecutor's Office (MP), via the Special Anti Impunity Prosecutor's Bureau (FECI) and with CICIG support, initiated an investigation to define, dismantle and prosecute a criminal structure comprised of officials of the General Directorate of Migration (DGM), the National Registry of Persons (RENAP), the Corporación Inmobiliaria La Luz S.A., as well as lawyers and intermediary agents.

This network helped citizens of different nationalities by issuing them forged passports so as to facilitate their entry into and departure from Guatemala.

In this case, José Alberto de León Gramajo (head of the passport delegation of the DGM Passport Issuing Authorities), and José Antonio Samayoa Cano (former representative of the Corporación Inmobiliaria La Luz S.A.), and Mirna María de Los Ángeles Rivas Gramajo (former DGM official) are already being prosecuted.

They were all arrested in August 2013.


Claudia Paz y Paz, Attorney General
Mauricio López Bonilla, Minister of the Interior
Commissioner Iván Velásquez Gómez


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        About Guatemala
  The Republic of Guatemala, a mountainous country that lies in the Central American isthmus, has an estimated population of 13 million people.
  Guatemala won its independence in 1821, following almost three centuries of Spanish colonial rule.
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