DENVER – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Bill Leone, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado; Jeffrey Copp, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Denver Office; and Terry L. Stuart, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office; announced that FRANCISCO JAVIER MIRANDA-ESPINOSA, age 34, a citizen of the Republic of Mexico, was sentenced Monday, February 13, 2006, by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock to serve a total 133 months (over 11 years) in federal prison for aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and other crimes related to the production and sale of fraudulent and counterfeit immigration identification related documents.

MIRANDA-ESPINOSA was sentenced by Chief Judge Babcock to serve 100 months for conspiracy to commit money laundering, and 24 months consecutive to the 100 months for aggravated identity theft. In addition to the 124 month sentence, Chief Judge Babcock sentenced MIRANDA-ESPINOSA to serve 20 months for unlawful reentry. The 20 month sentence is to run concurrent to the 124 month sentence. Lastly, the judge sentenced the defendant to serve 9 months consecutive to the 124 month sentence for violating his supervised release from a prior conviction in the Central District of California, making the total sentence 133 months.

According to the stipulated facts outlined in the plea agreement, from at least 1999 and continuing through February 2005, FRANCISCO JAVIER MIRANDA-ESPINOSA, a long-time member of the Castorena Family Organization, has been involved in the manufacturing and distributing of counterfeit identity documents, including resident alien cards, social security cards, and various driver licenses in Denver, Colorado, Los Angeles, California, and Chicago, Illinois.

The plea agreement states that MIRANDA-ESPINOSA moved from Los Angeles to Denver in August of 2004 to manufacture and distribute counterfeit identity documents, bringing with him additional equipment, including a computer, computer templates, and program software. The equipment was put to use at an apartment in Glendale, Colorado, where a counterfeit identification document manufacturing laboratory was then operated. The defendant gave training and instruction on the methods of utilizing the computer to make bulk quantities of the counterfeit identity documents.

In November 2004, MIRANDA-ESPINOSA mailed a bulk quantity of counterfeit social security cards, counterfeit identity document laminates, and other equipment utilized to manufacture bulk quantities of counterfeit identity documents, including a computer and software, from Denver to Chicago, to set up a counterfeit identity document manufacturing laboratory in Chicago, Illinois for further financial gain.

On January 20, 2005, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents executed a search warrant at MIRANDA-ESPINOSA’s residence in Aurora, where they found and seized several hundred counterfeit identity documents, including bulk quantities of blank social security cards and counterfeit identity document laminates for resident alien cards, as well as various driver licenses from the United States and Mexico.

Agents also found and seized various equipment utilized in the manufacturing of counterfeit identity documents, including a computer and a silk-screen printing press with various inks, chemicals and solutions commonly utilized in silk-screen printing. ICE agents also conducted a search of a storage shed leased by the defendant in Aurora. There they found and seized additional counterfeit identity document manufacturing equipment and supplies.

On February 7, 2005, ICE conducted a search of the Glendale, Colorado apartment, where they found and seized the counterfeit document laboratory, including the equipment and hundreds of counterfeit identity document materials.

On February 8, 2005, ICE agents conducted a search of an address in Chicago, Illinois, where MIRANDA-ESPINOSA had sent additional equipment to produce and distribute counterfeit identification documents. Agents found and seized the computer and equipment the defendant had earlier sent there, as well as materials for hundreds of counterfeit identity documents.

The plea agreement further states that the defendant conspired with others, including federal fugitive PEDRO CASTORENA-IBARRA, to wire transfer the proceeds of the illegal activity from Denver to Los Angeles and Mexico.

In a separate case, MIRANDA-ESPINOSA was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver, Colorado, for unlawfully reentering the United States, after having been convicted in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California for transferring false immigration identification documents. The defendant was sentenced for violating the terms of his supervised release from the Central District of California case, as well as illegally reentering the United States after being deported following that conviction.

PEDRO CASTORENA-IBARRA, is thought to be a mastermind behind one of the largest fraudulent immigration related identification document production organizations in the United States. PEDRO CASTORENA-IBARRA was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on July 11, 2005, and remains a fugitive from justice. During a recent sentencing hearing of PEDRO CASTORENA-IBARRA’s brother, FRANCISCO JAVIER CASTORENA-IBARRA, Chief Judge Babcock recognized that CASTORENA-IBARRA and his criminal organization has had a serious impact on the relationship between the United States and the Republic of Mexico.

“This significant sentence recognizes how the Castorena Family Organization’s fraudulent document ring creates immeasurable national security problems,” said Jeffrey Copp, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent in Charge of the Denver office. “ICE will work with many other law enforcement agencies to bring to justice the numerous people in this organization who were responsible for this intricate illegal operation.” Copp heads the ICE Office of Investigations, which includes: Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

The CASTORENA-IBARRA and MIRANDA-ESPINOSA cases have been actively investigated and prosecuted under the direction of Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Mackey in cooperation with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, and the Postal Inspection Service.

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