18 Accused of Arranging Fraudulent Marriages and Drug Trafficking
On Wednesday, authorities arrested 18 people accused for drug trafficking, possessing firearms, and arranging fraudulent marriages to attain green cards.
Federal authorities said that members of the Red Door gang, based in San Gabriel Valley, arranged foreigners to pay tens of thousands of dollars to marry American women to be allowed permanent residence in the United States.
While gangs often attempt to make money from white-collar crimes, U.S. Attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek said it is unusual to see a fraudulent marriage scheme.
Though a federal indictment cited three of these marriage cases, prosecutors believe there are possibly hundreds more.
‘We have a widespread fraud against the immigration system, a scheme that brought hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of dollars, to the gang,’ said Mrozek.
Wednesday, all but two of the 20 people named in the indictment were arrested stemming from a probe into the gang. It is believed the defendants are either members of the gang or connected to it in some way.
The two-year investigation resulted in authorities seizing seven firearms, 2,200 marijuana plants, and more than 12,500 ecstasy pills.