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Illinois sheriffs bust migrant-run operation coercing others into stealing so they could buy fake IDs

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Three migrants in Chicago are facing felony charges for obtaining fake ID cards which they then sold to other migrants so they could gain employment. 

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced the charges on Tuesday against the following men: Facundo Donato Meneses-Garcia, 51, Francisco Javier Otero-Rosas, 42, and Keneth Jareth Ulloa-Rodriguez, 19. 

Sheriff’s police arrested the three men last Wednesday after executing a search warrant at their resident in the 2700 block of South Hamlin Avenue in Chicago.

Officers recovered nearly 500 phony ID cards at the residence, including social security cards, green cards, and driver’s licenses – along with more than $7,200 in cash and around 40 grams of suspected methamphetamine.

Investigators determined that the three men were taking advantage of the migrants’ desperation to gain employment and were recruiting them to steal specific merchandise. The merchandise was traded for fake IDs or to be sold for cash that was then used to purchase fraudulent IDs.


The arrest came amid an uptick of retail theft cases in Chicago’s downtown area involving migrants – most of whom were originally from Venezuela and bused in from Texas. 

One of these retail thefts earlier this month tipped off officers to their illicit operation. Based on that information, sheriff’s deputies set up an undercover operation in which they purchased phony IDs from the defendants on multiple occasions. That led to officers executing a search warrant for the residence.

phony id cards chicago

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said the case underscores what happens when “you have desperate individuals who have little ability to help themselves legally.”  

“People are going to take advantage of them,” he said. 

The three men appeared at appeared at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building last Friday where a judge ordered them to be placed on the Chief Judge’s pre-trial electronic monitoring program.

The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges may be sought pending the results of laboratory analysis on the suspected narcotics recovered, the sheriff’s office said. 

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