News and Press Releases


TUESDAY - January 29, 2008


WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that in federal court on January 22, 2008, Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox sentenced ABIMALE SANAOZ-VASQUEZ, BENITO GUTIERREZ-LOPEZ, and JOSE RAMIREZ-MARTINEZ. Each defendant received 18 months imprisonment and 3 years supervised release. Each defendant was also ordered deported at the conclusion of their prison term.

A Superseding Criminal Information separately charged SANAOZ-VASQUEZ and RAMIREZ-MARTINEZ on October 26, 2007. GUTIERREZ-LOPEZ was charged in a Criminal Information on October 16, 2007. All three pled guilty on November 14, 2007, to fraud and misuse of documents.

The sentencing of these three defendants was another step in the ongoing investigation of illegal aliens in the Eastern District of North Carolina. On January 27, 2007, 21 individuals were located and apprehended at the Smithfield packing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina. These arrests were the culmination of a several month investigation into the use of false identities and false identification documents by individuals working in the Smithfield packing plant. During the administrative processing of these individuals, it was determined that 18 of the 21 were undocumented aliens who had assumed the name and social security numbers of other individuals.

Mr. Holding applauded the cooperation between the United States Attorney’s Office Anti-Terrorism Advisory Committee and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “The arrests of these 21 individuals in January, 2007, was an important step in the ongoing investigation and prosecution of illegal aliens who are using false identities and false immigration documents in the Eastern District of North Carolina. It is essential that we continue these efforts in order to ensure that our communities are safe and that our financial and employment systems are free from fraud. My office will continue to work with the agents of the Bureau of Immigration and Custom Enforcement to continue prosecutions of this type.”

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorneys James Candelmo and Eric Evenson, members of the United States Attorney’s Office Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, served as prosecutors for the government in these cases.


News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at within 48 hours of release.

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