Three Colombian nationals have been extradited from Colombia to the United States on charges of conspiracy to smuggle aliens for profit, alien smuggling for profit and conspiracy to commit visa fraud. These charges are in connection with their alleged roles in an extensive and sophisticated visa fraud scheme through which they fraudulently procured visas from the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia. The charges are the result of “Operation Coffee Country,” a coordinated international investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations and the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service.
Heliber Toro Mejia, 52; Humberto Toro Mejia, 60; and Luz Elena Acuna Rios, 52; all of Bogotá, were charged in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia on Feb. 4, 2009. The defendants were arrested on June 2, 2009, by Colombian authorities in Bogotá on provisional arrest warrants in response to a U.S. government request for their arrest. The defendants have been in custody in Colombia since their arrest and prior to their extradition to the United States.
According to the indictment, the defendants were the leaders of an extensive and sophisticated visa fraud ring that profited by assisting otherwise inadmissible Colombian nationals in fraudulently procuring visas from the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá. To support the visa applications of alien applicants, the defendants and other conspirators allegedly created fictitious backgrounds for the aliens and fraudulent supporting documentation, including paperwork that appeared to be official Colombian government-issued documents such as tax filings and birth and marriage certificates.