Worksite investigations in Nevada, Virginia and Georgia discover illegal workers at critical infrastructure sites

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested dozens of illegal aliens in Nevada, Virginia and Georgia this week in connection with work being done by contractors at three military installations. Two men face federal charges of harboring illegal aliens. Several aliens face federal charges for possession of fraudulent identity documents and re-entering the country after deportation.

"These arrests reflect the federal government's commitment to protecting our nation's critical infrastructure sites and targeting those who promote illegal hiring schemes," said Assistant Secretary for ICE Julie L. Myers. "Since its inception in 2003, ICE has launched numerous investigations that led to hundreds of arrests at military installations, power and chemical plants and other sensitive facilities."

Thursday, ICE agents and Nellis Air Force Base security officers arrested two illegal aliens at Creech AFB in Indian Springs, Nev., who were employed by a masonry construction company to construct avionics buildings. One of those arrested, a Nicaragua national, is a member of MS-13, considered to be one of the most dangerous gangs operating in America. The worksite investigation into their hiring is ongoing.

In Virginia, ICE agents arrested two men Thursday at an apartment complex in Dumfries, Va., on suspicion that they conspired to harbor illegal aliens and hire them for work at the Quantico Marine Base. An additional 14 undocumented workers were administratively arrested in Virginia, three at the Quantico Marine Base, three in Fredericksburg and eight at the apartment complex in Dumfries.

Richard Eversole, 58, a U.S. citizen, and Juan Martinez, 24, a Mexican national, were both charged by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia with conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens. A third man, Jacob Bocanegra, 36, also a Mexican national, is being sought by law enforcement. Eversole and Bocanegra hired illegal aliens to work on a construction project on Quantico Marine Base, according to court documents. Eversole and Bocanegra allegedly leased apartments for the illegal workers and provided them transportation onto the Quantico base. The trucks used to transport the illegal workers carried Department of Defense decals.

In Georgia, 21 illegal aliens who attempted to enter Fort Benning face federal charges in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in Columbus for identity theft and immigration violations, including improper entry and reentry after deportation. They were among 24 contract workers arrested by ICE agents and U.S. Army security personnel Wednesday as they attempted to enter the post to build a barracks for soldiers. Three aliens entered the country illegally but their eligibility to remain in the country had expired. Those aliens who are not facing criminal prosecution will be placed in removal proceedings.

Persons with false or fraudulently obtained identification attempting to enter a military installation can be cited for a variety of infractions, including criminal trespassing. If it is shown that this employer, or any other, knowingly hired unauthorized workers, the employer can be charged with aiding and abetting and conspiracy.

Since the creation of ICE in March 2003, the agency has dramatically enhanced its efforts to combat the unlawful employment of illegal aliens in the United States. ICE has developed a comprehensive strategy for effective worksite enforcement that is aimed at promoting national security, protecting critical infrastructure, and ensuring fair labor standards.

As part of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE agents prioritize worksite enforcement efforts by focusing on sites related to critical infrastructure and national security. Unauthorized workers employed at sensitive facilities such as nuclear plants, chemical plants, military bases, defense facilities, airports and seaports pose serious homeland security threats. Not only are the identities of these individuals in question, but these aliens are also vulnerable to exploitation by terrorists and other criminals given their illegal status in this country. Furthermore, these individuals have access to some of the most sensitive worksites in the nation.

Other agencies assisting in these operations included the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, and the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General and U.S. military security personnel and the Prince William County (Va.) Police Department.