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5 Illegal Immigrants Charged in Fake ID Scheme

Investigators said five men in Hoke County are accused of making fake driver's licenses and Social Security cards for illegal immigrants.

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RAEFORD, N.C. — Raeford police have shut down an operation that allegedly sold fake driver's licenses and Social Security cards to illegal immigrants that seemed so authentic that employees often never know the truth, they said.

Five illegal immigrants from Mexico, were arrested over the weekend after authorities received an anonymous tip last week. They face 270 counts of counterfeit and forgery charges.

Quintin Sanchez Rodriguez, 20, Gabriel Canuto Marcelino, 41, Jose Manuel Sosa Godinez, 26, Dionicio Hernandez, 32, and Juan Robles Mendez, 23, are all in the Hoke County Jail and are expected to be deported to Mexico, authorities said.

Investigators said the men used a Polaroid camera and a printing machine used at driver's license offices to make the fake IDs. They charged $1,200 for a set of four. About 40 forms of ID were found at the men's home.

"They would have their photographs made … they would throw a towel behind their head. It would be the same color as would be on the ID card," Raeford Police Lt. Garrett Gwin said.

Police said they are not yet sure how long the operation has been around or how many people used the service.

Investigators said the suspects randomly picked Social Security numbers, some belonging to people as far away as California.

"We have people on the West Coast call us saying their licenses have been suspended or revoked or saying they have been arrested for various reasons. They said they have never been to Raeford," Raeford Police Chief Kevin Locklear said.

Police said the five men -- Quintin Sanchez Rodriguez, 20, lived together at a house at 500 Edinborough Ave. and have been in the area for several years. They worked at House of Raeford and Mountaire Farms, two poultry plants in the area.

One of the men, Hernandez, was named employee of the month at Mountaire Farms. Police said the men used their own fake IDs to get jobs and even health insurance.

More than 1,850 illegal immigrants from North Carolina have been deported from October 2005 to September 2006, according to the regional Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office, which also handles immigration matters in South Carolina and Georgia.

That number is about 40 percent of all people deported in the region.