Colombians Sentenced to Alien Smuggling and Visa Fraud

Heilber Toro Mejia, Humberto Toro Mejia, and Luz Elena Acuna Rios of Bogota were found guilty of conspiracy to smuggle aliens and conspiracy to commit visa fraud. They were sentenced to 23 months in prison following an investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security (HSI) on December 7. After serving out their sentence, the three Colombians are also ordered to undergo three years of supervised release and are recommended for deportation.

The three were arrested in Bogota back in June 2009 and extradited to the US to await their trial. The scheme involved helping other Colombian nationals receive fraudulent visas from the US Embassy in Bogota by creating false identities and submitting forged documents to the officials on behalf of the aliens. Additionally, they trained the aliens on how to successfully pass a visa application interview. The defendants admitted to helping over 100 aliens obtain or attempt to obtain visas to enter the US illegally. In connection to their sentencing, the defendants were also forced to forfeit their office in Bogota and $234,533.00