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Former Cuban officer apprehended for allegedly making false statements on application for lawful permanent residence


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MIAMI, Feb. 7, CMC – The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday said that a former high-ranking Cuban officer residing in Miami, Florida, has been arrested by US federal agents after being indicted on one count of making false statements in an immigration document.

The DOJ said Saul Santos Ferro, 73, was charged in an indictment alleging that he “made a number of lies and misrepresentations in his application to register as a permanent resident, which he knowingly presented to US immigration authorities, ultimately obtaining lawful permanent resident status.”

Specifically, the indictment says that, when he applied to register as a permanent resident, Santos “failed to disclose his membership or affiliation with any organization, falsely stated that he never served in or been a member of a police unit, and falsely stated that he never served in any situation that involved detaining persons.”

“In fact, Santos served as a high-ranking officer in the Cuban government’s Department of State Security or Departamento de Seguridad del Estado (DSE) for decades,” the DOJ said.

Additionally, it said Santos “falsely stated that he never, by fraud or willful misrepresentation of a material fact, ever sought to procure, or procured, a visa, other documentation, entry into the United States, or any other immigration benefit.”

“Saul Santos Ferro allegedly lied to immigration authorities about his membership in the Cuban government’s internal security force to obtain lawful permanent residence status,” said Assistant US Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski.

“The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute those who seek to exploit our immigration system through fraud and deceit,” he added.

US Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan, of the Southern District of Florida, said “individuals who make false statements in immigration documents expose themselves to the serious threat of federal prosecution.

“Law enforcement in South Florida will continue to work together to prosecute those individuals who knowingly deceive the authorities about their criminal past or foreign ties, in order to fraudulently obtain immigration benefits,” he said.

The DOJ said Santos Ferro had his initial court appearance on Wednesday before US Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres for the Southern District of Florida, who ordered him released to home confinement with Global Position System (GPS) monitoring and a US$100,000 bond.

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