MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (AP) - After an undercover informer was able to
fake IDs for 10 of the FBI's most wanted criminals - including two
terrorists - police arrested two illegal aliens who allegedly ran one of
St. Louis area's biggest counterfeiting rings.
Maryland Heights police said Juan Moreno Aldama and Jose Luis
Hernandez-Sanchez made false identification for hundreds of people across
Maryland Heights police said that for $110 each, their informer was able
to purchase 26 sets of false IDs. The sets included Social Security and
Immigration and Naturalization Service resident alien cards.
Aldama, 30, and Hernandez-Sanchez, 21, were both living in St. Louis.
They are charged with 10 counts each of forgery, a felony.
"We take this very seriously in light of 9-11," said Detective Sgt. Joe
Delia. "This is just an example of how easy it is to get a new
Delia said customers buying the fake IDs probably used the false
documents to get legitimate identifications, such as Missouri driver's
licenses, Delia said. Many of them may have been illegal aliens.
Investigators said the suspects, along with others, may have operated
here for three years or more.
Police said they began their investigation about six months ago after
receiving a tip. An informer met Hernandez-Sanchez in February at a Maryland
Heights coffee shop. The informer provided a photo, name and $110. In
return, the suspect gave him a Social Security card and a resident alien
card, police said.
They explained that their informer returned in March with a list of 25
names and photos. Ten were of suspected terrorists, murderers and rapists
taken from the FBI's lists.
On March 26, police said, Hernandez-Sanchez provided the
Police said Aldama was the leader of the operation. They found hundreds
of blank forged federal identifications, blank California driver's licenses
and laminating equipment.
Agents with the FBI, Social Security Administration, INS and St. Louis
police participated in the investigation, which continues. Police are
looking for connections to rings in Chicago and the Southwest, Delia
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Hernandez-Sanchez and Aldama were being held on $150,000 bail.