WASHINGTON— A federal grand jury in the Western District of Texas has returned a seven-count indictment charging Luis Posada Carriles with one count of naturalization fraud and six counts of making false statements in a naturalization proceeding, the Department of Justice announced today.
The indictment alleges that Posada, 78, a native of Cuba, knowingly attempted to obtain naturalization as a U.S. citizen unlawfully by making false statements on his application for naturalization on or about Sept. 10, 2005. The indictment also alleges that he knowingly made false statements under oath during his naturalization interview with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials on April 25 and 26, 2006.
In his naturalization interview, Posada allegedly made several false statements regarding his March 2005 entry into the United States, including statements about the transportation routes and methods used, as well as individuals who accompanied him. For example, he stated that he traveled from Honduras through Belize and entered the United States over land near Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, with the assistance of an unidentified alien smuggler. In fact, Posada entered the United States by sea aboard the motor vessel “Santrina” accompanied by four individuals, the indictment alleges.
Posada further stated in his naturalization interview that he had never had any type of documentation, passport or identification from the Republic of Guatemala, when, in fact, he had a fraudulent passport issued by that nation bearing his photograph in the name of “Manuel Enrique Castillo Lopez,” the indictment alleges.
Posada is currently detained by DHS’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on administrative immigration violations. His initial court appearance in connection with the criminal charges is expected to take place early next week before a U.S. magistrate judge in the Western District of Texas.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment for the naturalization fraud count and five years imprisonment for each of the false statement counts.
This case was investigated by ICE. The prosecution is being handled by David B. Deitch and Paul Ahern, Trial Attorneys with the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
The federal investigation of Posada continues.
An indictment is merely a formal allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal laws. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.