KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Rayville, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to produce thousands of counterfeit identification documents that were distributed to illegal aliens, and to illegally possessing firearms.
Eriberto Moises Medina-Aranda, 39, of Rayville, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to the charges contained in a March 21, 2014, federal indictment.
Co-defendants Cesar Mujica-Aranda (Medina-Aranda’s half-brother), also known as “Oscar Gomez,” 25, a citizen of Mexico residing in Liberty, Mo., and Luis Daniel Cabrera-Guzman, also known as “Driver,” 30, and Bernardino Bautista-Hernandez, 32, also known as “Brujo,” both of whom are citizens of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo., have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy.
Medina-Aranda admitted that he participated in the conspiracy to produce false Social Security cards, false Lawful Permanent Resident cards and false driver’s licenses from various states within the United States as well as Mexican states between Sept. 1, 2013, and Feb. 21, 2014. Conspirators sold the counterfeit identification documents for at least $100 to other illegal aliens.
Medina-Aranda admitted that he oversaw the production and distribution of false identification documents. There were numerous street level dealers involved in the conspiracy. The street dealers would typically pay $50 for each counterfeit identification document sold and the street dealers would keep the excess proceeds they were able to obtain from the sale of the counterfeit documents.
Medina-Aranda also pleaded guilty to being an illegal alien in possession of firearms. Medina-Aranda admitted that in February 2014 he was in possession of a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic rifle, a Marlin rifle and ammunition, all of which were found in his residence by federal law enforcement agents. Medina-Aranda is illegally residing in the United States. His spouse, a citizen of the United States, purchased the Smith & Wesson semi-automatic rifle for him as a birthday gift at the Excelsior Springs, Mo., Wal-Mart store. Today’s plea agreement contains a photograph of Medina-Aranda posing with the semi-automatic rifle next to a painting of Al Pacino in his “Scarface” role, who is holding a rifle in a similar pose.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Medina-Aranda must forfeit to the government all of the document-making implements (including three desktop computers and a printer) that were seized by federal agents at Medina-Aranda’s residence and at a storage unit he used in Excelsior Springs, as well as the firearms that were seized at his residence. Conspirators must each pay a money judgment for the total amount of money that was obtained by this criminal enterprise. The Department of Homeland Security is still evaluating ink ribbons that were seized as part of the investigation and has already identified thousands of identification documents that were produced by the conspiracy. By the time of sentencing, the government may have a better estimate on how many identification documents it can establish were produced by the conspiracy. The court may elect to multiply this number by how much the conspiracy was selling the false documents to aliens.
Under federal statutes, Medina-Aranda is subject to a sentence of up to 25 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford. It was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General; the Kansas Department of Revenue, Office of Special Investigations; the Missouri Department of Revenue, Compliance & Investigations Bureau; the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Clay County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney.