Just Another Mafia

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on May 7, 2011

The Washington Post ran a front-page story Saturday about a Mexican ID forgery ring that had operated in eleven states, from Rhode Island to North Carolina to Arkansas. This news item makes clear that the Mexican mobsters in charge of this illicit business amount to nothing more than a bunch of foreigners willing to break the law to make big bucks – and nothing less than a bunch of hardened criminals whose business opportunity relied solely on the failure of American officials to get serious about immigration.

First, a few key points:

  • Official U.S. documents, such as Social Security cards and green cards, remain quite vulnerable to counterfeit.

  • While the Post calls this fake ID ring "one of the largest and most sophisticated document mills they have uncovered," its production and distribution techniques were frighteningly uncomplicated.

  • The financials of this scam business indicate that its economy of scale makes such criminal enterprises easy enough to set up and profitable enough to attract any "willing worker."

  • The payoff was rich. The "bosses in Mexico" who received the wired profits netted "at least $1 million."

  • One of the only things keeping such criminal businesses from proliferating even further in the U.S. is the mob-like turf-guarding tactics thugs typically use, such as beatings and intimidation of rivals.

A mere "27 people were arrested on a range of charges including making and selling false documents, gun possession, racketeering, kidnapping, and, in one case, murder." Catering to a clientele of illegal aliens (a potential national market of at least 10 million), this foreign crime ring "produced between 10,000 and 15,000 fake documents" of high quality. For instance, Eulalio A. Cruz, the Northern Virginia operator in this Mexican syndicate, printed "the right kind of ink" on "card stock with holographic images."

This ring sold illegal aliens authentic-looking fake ID sets for $120. A biweekly sales report "from [the ring's operation in] Nashville showed $4,150 in proceeds and $1,684 in expenses."

The organization employed runners who "sought out customers at grocery stores, laundromats and bars, authorities said. Sometimes they even passed out business cards advertising their services." This ring demanded that runners produce seven to 10 new customers each week. They were paid "a few hundred dollars," managers took in $300 to $400 in weekly salary, North Carolina-based executive Israel Cruz Millan, aka El Muerto, "took a cut, and the rest of the money went to Mexico."

One point should not be missed in light of this fake ID ring's example. The underlying opportunity for the range of crimes at the heart of this business model rests principally on the fact of very high immigration levels. Sure, illegals need false identification, not legal immigrants. But as we already know, high legal immigration and high illegal immigration are inextricably linked. That means the only viable way to drain the swamp of illicit opportunity connected with illegal immigrants must necessarily involve reducing legal immigration to reasonable, manageable levels.