Press Statement
Washington, DC
December 29, 2009


Bureau of Diplomatic Security

In 2009, The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) arrested 13 residents in California’s Central Valley on charges of federal passport fraud, announced Joseph P. Durkin, Special-Agent-In-Charge of the DSS San Francisco Field Office. The accused allegedly applied, or helped others apply for United States passports using counterfeit, stolen, or other unlawfully obtained American birth certificates and driver’s licenses, which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The majority of these cases were originally referred to DSS by the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Office of Passport Services.

The arrests include:

  • Andrea Lopez of Avenal, California
  • Francisco Fuentes-Hernandez of Stockton, California
  • Victor Salas of Fresno, California
  • Graciela Sanchez of Fresno, California
  • Isui Birzavi Lopez Sosa of Fresno, California
  • Enrique Lecca of Lodi, California
  • Jose Luis Zuniga-Aguilera of Modesto, California
  • Raul Batista of Rio Osa, California
  • Miguel Aguayo of Reedley, California
  • Victor Ortega of Roseville, California
  • Alfredo Heredia of Sacramento, California
  • Jose Luis Requejo of Sacramento, California
  • Bernice Rodriguez of Winton, California

Special-Agent-in-Charge of the DSS San Francisco Field Office, Durkin, said, “ The Diplomatic Security Service is committed to investigating and pursuing anyone who applies for or obtains a United States passport using false identification documents. The U.S. passport and visa are two of the most coveted travel documents in the world. There are foreign nationals who fraudulently acquire U.S. passports and visas to carry out criminal activities, including terrorism, inside our borders. These crimes threaten the national security of the United States.”

Those arrested were referred by DSS for prosecution and or deportation. They are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Anyone with information about false or fraudulently issued passports is encouraged to contact DSS at (415) 705-1176.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State's law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security of 285 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high‑ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations. In 2008, DS participated in 2,487 arrests globally, primarily for passport and visa fraud, including 586 arrests overseas in cooperation with foreign police. Read more in the U.S. Department of State's Visa and Passport Security Strategic Plan at:
www.state.gov/m/ds/rls/rpt/79895.htm. Additional information about the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security may be obtained at www.state.gov/m/ds.

Contact: Sarah Rosetti
571-345-2507
RosettiSN@state.gov

Patrick Durkin
Special-Agent-In-Charge
San Francisco Field Office
415-705-1176