New York man pleads guilty to weapons and aggravated ID theft charges

Published on April 17th, 2012

On March 16, 2012 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) issued a news release entitled “New York man pleads guilty to weapons and aggravated ID theft charges,” heralding the successful prosecution of Ray Anthony Anderson, an illegal alien from Jamaica.

Anderson pleaded guilty to a number of charges including possession of two high-powered weapons, a Mossberg 12 gauge Model 500 shotgun, and a Ruger SR22RSC rifle. Both weapons contained tactical rail attachments, flashlights and advanced scopes.  He was also charged with obtaining two New York State drivers' licenses in two separate names, false claim to the United States citizenship, both when he purchased the two firearms and when he attempted to procure a United States passport.

He committed identity theft in order to not only conceal his true identity but to create the illusion that he was a United States citizen and, in order to achieve this goal, even petitioned the Supreme Court of the State of New York to have his name changed to that of a United States citizen whose identity he had stolen.

Here is an excerpt from that news release that explains his ploy:

The defendant also had two New York state driver's licenses, a Social Security card and a District of Columbia certificate of birth in his possession at the time of arrest. The driver's licenses were in different names, but both bore the defendant's laminated photograph. The investigation determined that the defendant was in fact a Jamaican national who was unlawfully in the United States. Anderson had obtained and used someone else's birth certificate and Social Security card in order to create a new false identity. At one point in the scheme, the defendant submitted a petition to the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Monroe County to change one of his alias names to match that of a name belonging to a real U.S. citizen.

The court granted the order changing the defendant's name, and he then used these documents to obtain a false New York state Enhanced driver license (EDL). An EDL is a photographic identification document issued by the state of New York which complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. This identification document functions as primary proof of United States citizenship, and can be used to enter the United States at certain border crossings from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, including Jamaica.

While he was unable to obtain a United States passport, for which he filed an application, the Enhanced Driver License he did manage to obtain in a false identity, serves as a passport for limited international travel.

His scheme apparently unraveled when his wife called local law enforcement to complain about being assaulted by her husband.  Because of that phone call the decision was made by local law enforcement to reach out to ICE.  Had the local Sheriff not contacted ICE, it is likely that Anderson's crimes would have gone undetected.

While there are those who claim that community policing suffers when local law enforcement works with ICE, nothing could be further from the truth and this case provides a great example of the synergy to be gained by such a working relationship.

The news release noted that the defendant now faces up to 15 years in prison for the crimes that he was charged with.  Indeed, all of his crimes would have exposed him to far more than 15 years in jail.  Therefore it is likely that in exchange for his guilty plea prosecutors agreed to drop some of the charges.  The federal crimes to which he pleaded guilty related back to his immigration status and could not have been prosecuted had immigration not been a factor in the prosecution.

Once he serves his prison sentence Anderson will face removal (deportation) from the United States.

While, there was no mention as to how Anderson entered the United States in the first place, it is unlikely he entered the United States by running the Mexican border.  The bottom line is that while the porous US/Mexican border does create problems for the United States, there are many more issues that must be addressed if our nation is to effectively tackle the immigration crisis it now faces.

The enforcement of the immigration laws must be a regular component of effective law enforcement throughout our country.

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