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Mexican man pleads guilty to making false statement in US passport application

5 Apr

TYLER, Texas — A Mexican man illegally present in the United States pleaded guilty Tuesday to making a false statement in a U.S. passport application.

This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brow, Eastern District of Texas. This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Baltazar Arrieta-Lara, 52, a resident of Rusk County, Texas, pleaded guilty April 2 to making a false statement in a passport application before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell.

According to information presented in court, since at least 2002, Arrieta-Lara, a citizen and national of Mexico, had been living without legal immigration status in the United States. Sometime afterwards, Arrieta-Lara obtained the name, date of birth, and social security number of a U.S. citizen. He fraudulently used those identifiers to obtain various documents in the name of the U.S. citizen.  In 2007, Arrieta-Lara used the U.S. citizen’s identity to obtain a U.S. passport in the citizen’s name.  After obtaining this U.S. passport, Arrieta-Lara traveled between the United States and Mexico on multiple occasions between 2009 and 2016.  The Department of State’s National Passport Center and Diplomatic Security Services discovered Arrieta-Lara’s fraudulent use of the U.S. citizen’s identity when Arrieta-Lara attempted to renew this passport.

Under federal statute, Arrieta-Lara faces up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing. This maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided for information purposes; the actual sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the U.S. Probation Office completes a presentence investigation.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Hurst, Eastern District of Texas.