Crime & Courts

Trooper finds 100s of counterfeit birth certificates, ID cards in car bound for Mexico

File photo.
File photo. TNS

A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper discovered hundreds of fake U.S. social security cards and birth certificates stashed in the glove box of a rental car he pulled over for speeding in the southwest part of the state late last month.

In total, the cache contained 353 counterfeit or possibly counterfeit identification documents, according to an affidavit attached to a criminal complaint that charges the driver and the passenger in the car with unlawfully possessing them. The complaint was filed in federal court on April 27.

About two thirds of the documents had names on them and had supposedly been issued by states including Colorado, Texas, Nevada and California. One hundred of the fake social security cards were blank, the affidavit says.

The pair facing charges in the case, Lilia Arratia and Sergio Adame of Mexico, were in the U.S. legally on visas and had crossed the Mexican border to travel into the U.S. 17 and 18 times, respectively, so far this year, according to the affidavit. Their latest entry into the U.S. was on April 25 - they day before they were stopped.

Arratia's visa is for tourism. Adame's is a business visa, the affidavit says.

Trooper Robert Kraus was on Highway 54 in Liberal shortly after 9:20 p.m. April 26 when he spotted a 2017 Hyundai Sonata speeding and driving erratically, according to the affidavit.

After pulling it over and getting permission to search the car, Kraus found six manila envelopes in the glove box. The fake documents were stuffed inside.

Arratia told the trooper she and Adame were headed to Dodge City for a family reunion and to visit an ailing relative, according to the affidavit. Adame's told the trooper that he'd picked up the envelopes from an attorney's office in El Paso, Texas, and was taking them to Dodge City at the request of a cousin who said they contained immigration documents he needed to sign.

Each is charged with unlawfully possessing identification documents, according to court records.

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Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker