Three Colombian citizens have been arrested on charges of alien
smuggling — accused of coaching more than 100 people how to lie to
obtain visas to travel to the United States.
The three were arrested Tuesday in Bogota after being indicted in federal court in Washington.
charge the three were part of a sophisticated visa fraud ring that
helped Colombian citizens get visas from the U.S. Embassy in Bogota.
to a newly unsealed indictment, the group taught clients to lie and say
they were married, or had children, to help convince U.S. officials
that they would return to Colombia after visiting the U.S.
The indictment charges many of those who did fraudulently obtain the visas later entered the U.S.
charges against Heliber Toro Mejia, 50, Humberto Toro Mejia, 58, and
Luz Elena Acuna Rios, 51, grew out of an investigation called
“Operation Coffee Country” run by the State Department’s Diplomatic
Security Service and the Homeland Security Department’s Immigrations
and Customs Enforcement agency.
The case is being overseen by Channing Phillips, the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C. (AP)