A leader of a deadly international ring that made and sold false identity documents to illegal immigrants was convicted by a jury in federal court in Richmond on Tuesday.
Edy Oliverez-Jiminez, 25, was found guilty of racketeering, murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to produce false identification documents. He faces life in prison when sentenced on March 2.
He was acquitted on two counts each of assault and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
The kidnapping and murder charges stem from the assault of a rival document vendor who died from a beating on July 6, 2010, in Little Rock, Ark. By August 2010, Oliverez-Jiminez had moved to Virginia Beach and set up another cell for the organization.
"We have never seen a document fraud case like this anywhere in the nation – a group so organized and so intent on profiting from fake IDs that they stopped at nothing to take out their rivals," said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
"He was the last one standing," MacBride said of Oliverez-Jiminez. Twenty six others pleaded guilty and two remain fugitives.
The Mexico-based ring operated in 18 U.S. cities in 11 states, including in Richmond and two other Virginia cities. It produced at least 15,000 counterfeit documents, including driver's licenses, Social Security cards and green cards.
More than $1 million was wired to Mexico from January 2008 through November 2010. A green card and a Social Security card together would typically sell for $150 to $200, while a driver's license would cost about $150.
Fernando Alvarado-Uribe, another fake-identification dealer, testified that he was lured from the Tidewater area to Chesterfield County where members of Oliverez-Jiminez's gang — not Oliverez-Jiminez — tied him up, pistol-whipped him and threatened to kill him.
He testified that the June 16, 2009, incident occurred in a house in the 5500 block of Folkstone Drive, where he believed customers were waiting. Instead, when he and a partner walked inside, they were ambushed and warned not to try to do business in the Richmond area.
Oliverez-Jiminez worked under Israel Cruz Millan, 26, of Raleigh, N.C., also known as, "El Muerto," who led the organization in the U.S. and reported to leaders in Mexico.
Millan pleaded guilty on Nov. 15, the day Oliverez-Jiminez's trial started, to racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to produce and transfer false identification documents, and conspiring to commit money laundering.