2 Face Conspiracy Charges to Surgically Alter Fingerprints of Illegal Immigrants

Federal authorities say a doctor and his assistant, both from the Dominican Republic, were in Peabody to surgically alter fingerprints of previously deported immigrants for a fee.

Surgical equipment seized by federal agents on Nov. 16. Credit: Courtesy ICE
Surgical equipment seized by federal agents on Nov. 16. Credit: Courtesy ICE
A Dominican doctor and his assistant were arrested this past weekend in Peabody on federal charges of conspiring to surgically alter the identities of deported illegal immigrants via their fingerprints.

The arrests stemmed from an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations office in Boston.

Two agents, assisted by Peabody police, took the pair into custody at an apartment on Shore Drive Saturday morning, where they were allegedly setting up to perform surgeries on clients.

Danilo Montero-Ramirez, 61, of the Dominican Republic, and Teresa Araujo-Martinez, 40, also a Dominican citizen, face charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to harbor aliens.

ICE says HSI special agents became aware Montero-Ramirez, a licensed medical doctor in the Dominican, was traveling to the United States to meet with "previously deported aliens" to perform surgery on their hands in order to alter their fingerprints.

A press statement did not shed further light on the identity of the clients, but did state "convicted criminals alter their fingerprints to help conceal their true identities from law enforcement and to dissociate themselves from their prior criminal history."

ICE says the doctor arrived in the United States last week and he and Araujo-Martinez then arranged to perform surgeries on Nov. 16 for $4,500 each. The pair was arrested before the surgeries began, and otherwise the patients would have been given controlled substances by Araujo-Martinez.

ICE says the special agents seized surgical cutting equipment, gauze, bandages, syringes and prescription medication. They said the assistant had a large quantity of oxycodone and other pain medications.

According to authorities, both defendants face up to 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and three years of supervised release if convicted on the drug distribution charge. They face up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release if convicted of conspiracy to harbor aliens.

The state police and sheriff's departments in Bristol and Essex County also assisted with the investigation.
Kathleen November 21, 2013 at 01:49 PM
This is despicable and this is exactly the kind of immigration that this country does not need! The Salem News printed a lot more facts on these two and the doctor is a U.S. Citizen who was born in The Dominican Republic. His accomplice is here illegally and has been since 2003. Bet you dollars to donuts one or both of them has an EBT card and a Mass Health card in their wallet. The story makes it sound like the doctor just came here last week but he actually is a citizen. I'm sure he travels back and forth to replenish his supplies...This country is going to hell in a hand basket because of our ridiculous immigration laws. And now we the tax payers are footing the bill for their public defenders. He is a doctor and he can't afford an attorney? Only in America!
John Castelluccio November 21, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Kathleen, just to clarify, the information initially publicized by ICE did not identify the doctor as an American citizen. That's why it's not mentioned in this story. It wasn't something we chose to leave out or anything.
Saber Walsh November 22, 2013 at 10:47 AM
Unreal. Just UNREAL.


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