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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 17, 2017

Foreign National Charged With Illegal Possession Of A Firearm And Ammunition And Falsely Claiming To Be A Lawful Permanent Resident

Indictment also alleges misuse of social security number and possession of multiple fraudulent documents.

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN - Diego Hernandez-Cortes, a/k/a "Javier De La Cruz" 33, a citizen and national of Mexico who overstayed his work visa, was arrested on February 15, 2017, by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), after being indicted on felony charges of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition, falsely claiming lawful Permanent Resident status, misusing a Social Security number and possession of false identification documents.

          The indictment, which was returned by a grand jury for the Western District of Michigan, alleges that Hernandez-Cortes knowingly possessed a DPMS Inc., Panther .223 caliber semiautomatic rifle, and 15 rounds of Remington .223 caliber ammunition, contained within a magazine. The indictment further alleges that Hernandez-Cortes possessed two Social Security cards and three Permanent Resident cards knowing them to be forged counterfeited, altered, falsely made, procured by means of any false claim or statement, or to have been otherwise procured by fraud or unlawfully obtained.

          In addition, the indictment alleges that on two occasions, in Kent County and Oceana County, Hernandez-Cortes falsely claimed to two separate employers to be a lawful permanent resident of the United States with a duly-assigned alien registration number when he knew this was not true. Furthermore, the grand jury charged that with respect to one of those employers, Hernandez-Cortes falsely represented a Social Security account number as his own that had not been assigned to him.

          The matter was a joint investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Sparta Police Department.

          If convicted, Hernandez-Cortes faces up to 10 years in federal prison. Conviction would also result in deportation back to Mexico. The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

END

Updated February 21, 2017