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Press Release

Cuban Citizen Arrested on Charge of Making False Statements on an Application for Lawful Permanent Residence

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Indictment allege series of lies, including failure to disclose membership in the Cuban government’s Department of State Security

A Cuban citizen residing in Miami, Florida, was arrested on Feb. 5, by federal agents after being indicted on one count of making false statements in an immigration document.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami Field Office made the announcement. 

Saul Santos Ferro, 73, was charged in an indictment alleging that Santos made a number of lies and misrepresentations in his application to register as a permanent resident which he knowingly presented to U.S. immigration authorities, ultimately obtaining lawful permanent resident status.  Specifically, the indictment asserts that, when he applied to register as a permanent resident, Santos failed to disclose his membership or affiliation with any organization, falsely stated that he never served in or been a member of a police unit, and falsely stated that he never served in any situation that involved detaining persons. In fact, Santos served as a high-ranking officer in the Cuban government’s Department of State Security or Departamento de Seguridad del Estado (DSE) for decades.  Additionally, Santos falsely stated that he never by fraud or willful misrepresentation of a material fact, ever sought to procure, or procured, a visa, other documentation, entry into the United States, or any other immigration benefit.

“Saul Santos Ferro allegedly lied to immigration authorities about his membership in the Cuban government’s internal security force to obtain lawful permanent residence status,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.  “The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute those who seek to exploit our immigration system through fraud and deceit.”

“Individuals who make false statements in immigration documents expose themselves to the serious threat of federal prosecution,” said U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan.  “Law enforcement in South Florida will continue to work together to prosecute those individuals who knowingly deceive the authorities about their criminal past or foreign ties, in order to fraudulently obtain immigration benefits.”

“The United States has a lawful system of immigration that is necessary for our country to be a prosperous and orderly nation,” said Special Agent in Charge Piro.  “When the system is circumvented, the FBI and our law enforcement partners have a duty to investigate in order to protect our citizens from lawbreakers who may be hiding amongst us.”  

“The arrest of Saul Santos Ferro should send a clear message that we will not tolerate individuals who purposely deceive the government and violate our immigration laws,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Salisbury.  “HSI is committed to working with our federal law enforcement partners to ensure that these crimes are properly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Santos Ferro had his initial court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres for the Southern District of Florida, who ordered him released to home confinement with GPS monitoring and a $100,000 bond. 

The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and HSI.  The case is being jointly prosecuted by Trial Attorney Rami S. Badawy of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Cervantes of the Southern District of Florida.

Updated February 6, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-79